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Scientists seek to improve the Mexican avocado

The Mexican avocado production represents more than 30 percent of the global harvest according to data from the Food and Fisheries Information Service (SIAP), an agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (Sagarpa).

There are five major producing states: Michoacan, which contributes with 86 percent of the total national production, followed by the States of Mexico, Morelos, Nayarit and Puebla. The countries that buy Mexican avocados the most are France, Canada, Japan and the USA.

However, as with many crops, avocado is facing the drought and erosion of large amounts of forests due to the increase in its demand.

Large-scale cultivation of avocados in Mexico began in the late 70s. The problem is that, as acreage increases, so does water consumption for the crops and logically, there is a loss of natural forests.

According to Dr. Claudia Anahi Perez, who heads the technology platform for the genetic improvement of avocado, this project aims to develop varieties which have a bigger resistant to a lack of water, have more fatty acids and come from smaller trees so as to facilitate obtaining the fruit since the avocado tree can be up to 20 or 30 feet high, which makes harvesting difficult for producers.

In an interview with Notimex, the researcher of the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (Langebio), explained that the project aims to generate more efficient plants in water use, given that there is less water due to climate change, and avocados requires rainfall regimes of 1000-2000 millimetres to grow.

"We seek to generate species that use less water without affecting their productivity and whose fruits contain a higher content of fatty acids because they are what give them that quality in taste and help us market them to obtain fatty acids, cosmetics and industrial uses," he said.


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