The Department of Agriculture of the USA states in a report, that Mexican avocado exports to the US for the 2019/2020 agricultural year are expected to exceed one billion tons. This number is considerably higher than the 888 thousand tons of the 2018/2019 agricultural year.
“Avocado producers in Mexico are therefore looking to improve the conditions of the countryside, such as healthier soils and access to water. In this way the producers hope to increase production and yields, since it is almost impossible to meet the high demand in the US”, the report said. The increased demand of avocados in the US can be seen in the exponential growth of annual consumption per capita. They only ate 900 grams in 2001 compared to 3.2 kg in 2019.
Climate and social concerns
However, environmental groups and crime experts are starting to raise the alarm about the impact of American demand for avocados from Michoacán. Michoacán is the only Mexican state that can export the product to the US. In March 2019, Global Forest Watch of the World Resources Institute in Washington warned about cutting down hundreds of hectares of forests in Michoacán for the benefit of avocado plantations intended for export.
Given the growing demand, organisations such as Equal Exchange and Rainforest Alliance have already begun certifying avocados in Mexico, taking into account the way the product is grown up to the way that it is brought to the market.
At the same time, American media have conducted various investigations into extortion and money laundering by criminal groups in Michoacán in the avocado industry. The American academic journal Politics & Policy calculated that the value of extortion is between 1 and 4 percent of the total production value.
Source: Agroberichten buitenland.nl