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'The Great Avocado Shortage'

War, climate change and troublesome supply chain is driving avocado prices to new heights

Multiple problems, including a hailstorm in Mexico in June and rapidly rising fertilizer prices due to the impact of the war in Ukraine, have decimated avocado crops. The result: a shortage of the fruit and higher prices in US grocery stores. Average US avocado prices rose 30% for the week of July 23, versus the same time a year earlier, to $1.41 each, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

Mexico, the main source of US avocado imports, buys nearly 30% of its fertilizer from Russia, and because of the war in Ukraine the supply has tightened and made it more costly. Weather has also hurt avocado production, with a recent violent storm causing substantial crop losses in the Mexican state of Michoacán. A drought throughout much of Mexico is also impacting production. 

In the first quarter of 2021, the US imported 747 million pounds of avocados from Mexico, according to Hass Avocado Board. But this year, during the same period, those imports fell to 558 million pounds.


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