STORY INLINE POST
The Association of Producers and Packers Exporters of Avocado of Mexico (APEAM) has become the leading reference in terms of export quality of Mexican avocados. This is the result of the work of more than 32,000 producers and 81 packers from the states of Michoacan and Jalisco. This month, we are celebrating our first 25 years, endorsing the commitment to continue working hard on the path of care and protection of the environment.
But how much can we grow a market generated from people’s taste for a particular food? In the case of the Mexican avocado, in just three years, its export value grew 24 percent. This is because of the flavor and both the nutritional and culinary benefits of the fruit.
Indeed, according to the study, The Economic Benefits of Avocado Imports From Mexico to the United States 2022," by Texas A&M University, as reported by the Avocado Institute of Mexico, the consumption of the fruit in that latter country shot up more than 612 percent between 1989 and 2021, representing an impressive annual growth rate of 9.6 percent on average over that period. In the 2021-2022 season alone, 915,750 tons of the product were exported to the US.
This is the result, in turn, of the increase in Hass avocado imports from Mexico to the US, which make substantial contributions to the economies of both countries, according to the aforementioned analysis. Since 1997, the supply of this food has grown to more than 2 billion pounds annually. It was precisely in that year that the APEAM was created. This body, responsible for said commercial exchange and the only official partner, is celebrating 25 years of working hard to make the above possible.
25 Years of History
The history of APEAM began in 1997, when a group of 60 producers and five packers from the Mexican state of Michoacan proposed to send a first shipment of the fruit after a commercial embargo that began in 1914. They established, together with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA APHIS), the Binational Work Plan for the export of avocado to the neighboring country to the north. Then, they did an intense job to prepare the first shipment and make the delivery in only four months.
Previously, several attempts had been made to reactivate Michoacan avocado exports to the US. For example, in 1970, approval was requested from the USDA APHIS but was rejected. Other efforts were made in 1978 (with demonstrations of safe shipments of the fruit to Europe, Canada and Japan by air) and in 1984 (when the coordinated work between producers, packers and the Mexican Plant Health Agency began to carry out exports). In 1993, the North American health authorities initially approved the export of the Hass avocados from Michoacan to Alaska, but it was not until 2007 that the total opening of the US market to this Mexican product was officially achieved. It took 93 years for this reactivation.
Some of the factors that have generated the growth in avocado consumption in the US include the increasing inclusion of the product in the food offerings of that country, both from fast food restaurants and fine-dining restaurants; the intersection of the growing trend among US consumers toward health, promoting ethnic foods and the increased awareness of their benefits as well as a growing preference among US wholesalers for Mexican Hass avocados due to its high quality compared to those from other sources or places of origin.
Added to this is the hard work of many people who are behind the export process, who also do so using sustainable methods. In total, the avocado industry generates 78,000 permanent direct jobs and more than 300,000 indirect or temporary jobs in Mexico. Additionally, export-related work generates 58,299 jobs in the US, thus contributing to the growth of the economies of both countries.
APEAM's close partnership with the USDA ensures that all avocado growers and packers in Mexico comply with the most rigorous phytosanitary standards and regulations, such as responsible management of agrochemicals and water, and adhere to good agricultural practices, as well as the highest standards of quality and food safety (supported by a strict product traceability process through different technologies). The association also has a consistent forest conservation program to assist in this task.
Throughout every step of the supply chain, the avocado industry enacts rigorous guidelines that start at the orchard. To confirm that phytosanitary requirements are being met at all of them and at the packinghouses, nearly 90 USDA regulatory officers and 12 members of its administrative staff systematically conduct a series of inspections before avocados can be harvested and exported to the US. In this way, the close cooperation between the two nations ensures an abundant supply of avocados throughout the year.