Saturday, June 15, 2024

Avocado growers protest corruption that allows non-Michoacán fruit into the state

More than 1,000 Michoacán avocado growers set up checkpoints on highways in 11 municipalities yesterday to stop avocados from other parts of Mexico coming in to the state to be exported later to the United States under their exclusive export agreement.

José Luis Mata, representative for a Michoacán avocado growers’ association, told the newspaper El Universal that 70% of avocado orchards are currently on strike due to corruption that allows avocados to enter the state and be shipped to the U.S. market posing as aguacates michoacanos.

Michoacán growers are the only ones in the country who are included in the United States Department of Agriculture certified export program, he said.

Mata said the work stoppage would continue indefinitely until authorities take action to stop the entry of outside avocados.

If the strike continues, a shortage of the fruit is likely to follow, causing prices to increase in both domestic and international markets.

Mata said the practice of sending avocados from other parts of the country into Michoacán to be passed off as a locally-grown product was driving down the cost of the genuine fruit.

Before the imposters were first detected two months ago, trading companies paid producers up to 60 pesos (US $3) per kilo of certified Michoacán avocados but now the best price they get is 20 pesos (US $1), which in turn leads to economic losses and employee layoffs.

The United States is by far the largest export market for Mexican avocados but producers are also increasingly looking to other markets such as China, where sales of the alligator pear are skyrocketing.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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