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Avocado processing at a plant in Jalisco. Avocado processing at a plant in Jalisco. Photos: @EnriqueAlfaroR/Twitter

Certification allows Jalisco to become second state to export avocados to US

First shipment of U.S. certified avocados from the state comes after years of work

Jalisco has begun exporting avocados to the United States, becoming Mexico’s second supplier of the fruit to the lucrative market.

A shipment of 201 tonnes of Jalisco-grown Hass avocados departed the municipality of Zapotlán el Grande in 11 trucks on Thursday. Governor Enrique Alfaro said on Twitter that it was a “historic day for Jalisco, its economy and its countryside,” noting that the United States’ certification of avocados grown in the state came after a decade of work.

For the past 25 years, Michoacán has been the only state authorized to ship avocados to the U.S., where demand for the fruit has increased significantly over the past 20 years. However, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture, certified Jalisco-grown avocados as being free of diseases and pests earlier this year.

Federal Agriculture Minister Víctor Villalobos Arámbula said Thursday that the commencement of exports was the result of “the commitment, dedication and passion” of avocado producers at 608 orchards and 10 packaging plants in Jalisco that were certified by authorities in both the U.S. and Mexico.

inauguration of first import of Jalisco avocados to the US
Governor Enrique Alfaro, sixth from left, and other officials gathered Thursday to send off Jalisco’s first shipment of avocados to the United States.

He told attendees at an export inauguration ceremony that it was a privilege for the federal government to work with the Jalisco avocado industry during the certification process. The opening up of the United States as an export market will generate “well-being” for small and medium-sized avocado producers in Jalisco as well as their families and communities, Villalobos said.

In collaboration with federal authorities, several other states – including México state, Puebla, Colima and Morelos – are also aiming to get U.S. certification.

In Jalisco, Villalobos noted, the avocado industry directly employs more than 12,000 people. Before winning U.S. certification, Jalisco-grown avocados were already exported to some 25 countries including Canada, Japan and Spain. The state’s 2021 exports totaled 113,000 tonnes.

Javier Medina Villanueva, president of the Jalisco Avocado Export Association, said the supply of avocados from the state will help bring prices down in the United States, where a single fruit can cost more than US $2.

“When we were talking about very high prices a month ago, it was because the [U.S] market wasn’t getting enough supply,” he said. “So we believe that the entry of Jalisco will close that supply shortage. … I think prices will stabilize.”

Mexico – the world’s largest avocado exporter – is already the dominant foreign supplier of avocados to the U.S. market, but volumes will increase now that Jalisco can send its fruit north. Mexico’s export capacity will increase even further if more states are authorized by the U.S.

Villalobos noted that national production of avocados has tripled over the past 25 years, increasing to 2.4 million tonnes in 2021 from 790,000 tonnes in 1996. He said that exports to a total of 51 countries are worth US $3.1 billion annually, with almost 80% of that revenue coming from the United States.

With reports from Milenio

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