The US Embassy has activated a security protocol that includes the temporary suspension of Mexican avocado imports.

US Suspends Imports of Mexican Avocados

Since Saturday, June 15, the US Embassy has activated a security protocol that includes the temporary suspension of Mexican avocado imports. This measure was taken after two US agricultural inspectors were attacked in the municipality of Aranza, Michoacán.

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Photo: N+

The US government reported the temporary halt of avocado imports from Michoacán due to an attack on USDA inspectors during a blockade. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) works in cooperation with the Mexican government and the Association of Producers and Exporters of Avocado from Mexico (APEAM) to ensure the supervision and authorization of avocado exports to the United States. APEAM announced that APHIS-USDA decided to stop avocado inspection activities in Michoacán until further notice.

This incident is not isolated. In February 2022, the United States also temporarily suspended imports of Mexican avocados due to threats against a US inspector.

Destination of Mexican Avocados: The US, the Main Consumer

Mexico is responsible for nearly half of the world’s avocado exports, reaching a record $3.495 billion in 2022. Of this amount, $3.008 billion was exported to the United States, representing 86.1% of total Mexican avocado exports. This high percentage shows a growing dependence on the US market, which contrasts with the lesser diversification of international destinations.

In 2022, Mexico accounted for 47.5% of the world’s avocado exports, with sales to the United States far exceeding other markets such as Canada ($287 million), Japan ($87 million), and Spain ($41 million).

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Photo: El País

Economic Impact of the Suspension of Mexican Avocado Imports

According to the Agricultural Markets Consulting Group, the suspension of Mexican avocado imports represents an approximate daily loss of $7.5 million. Additionally, they warn that the current fruit comes from the end of the harvest, meaning a shorter shelf life.

If the suspension continues, exporters face significant losses due to the decreased quality of the product. Packing companies will also suffer high labor costs as they must pay their workers for full shifts, even without fruit to process. This situation will prevent exporters from fulfilling their delivery contracts with US clients, potentially resulting in economic sanctions. The agro-industry specialist company emphasizes that without a prompt resolution, the economic implications will be severe for both producers and the Mexican economy as a whole.

Despite these challenges, avocado production in Mexico continues to boom. In 2023, production grew by 4.3%, reaching 2.8 million tons, and a 5% increase is expected in 2024, according to the USDA. This growth has been consistent over the past decade, positioning Mexico as the world’s leading producer and exporter of avocados.

Avocado production forecasts for this year point to 2.7 million tons. According to a US report, 73% of this production comes from Michoacán, followed by Jalisco with 12% and the State of Mexico with 5%.

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Photo: El País
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