Various farmers in the Mexican state of Chihuahua are giving up growing marijuana and planting avocados instead. According to the mayor of Guadalupe y Calvo, farmers in the municipality, considered part of the notorious Golden Triangle of drug production, harvested 10 tonnes of Hass avocados this year.
Now they aim to plant up to 50,000 avocado trees by the end of the year, announced Mayor Noel Chávez, who hopes to create a new economic model in the region: “People didn’t believe in this, but we said we’d give it a try, and the first results are being seen. This program started three years ago with coordination from all three levels of government, and in another three years we’ll be seeing our production multiply.”
The municipal government believes avocado production can generate up to 90 million pesos (US $4.6 million) annually. Chávez says he sees motivation among the farmers who themselves see great potential in avocados due to their popularity in markets like China, Japan, the United States and Europe.
He suggests that poverty is to blame for area farmers growing marijuana and other illegal crops, but hopes that education and awareness will show them another way to make a living. Chávez has envisioned a plan to disassociate communities from illegal crops and increase local consumption of the fruit, with the expectation to become an exporting community within the next three years.