Mexican Avocados: Multi-Billion Dollar MarketBy Eliza Galeana | Fri, 09/30/2022 - 13:01
According to the 2021-2022 Economical Contribution Analysis from Texas A&M University, the import of Mexican avocados continues to substantially impact the US and Mexican economies. The analysis revealed that imports of the Mexican Hass avocado are now worth US$4 billion, up from US$2.5 billion two years ago.
Since 1997, the export of avocado from Mexico to the US has risen to more than 1 million tons a year, and more than 2 million tons in the past two years alone. According to university researchers, a person in the US eats more than 4 kilos of Mexican avocados a year on average. This represents a much larger volume compared to the average 450 grams consumed per person back in 1990.
Among other factors to illustrate the avocado boom, the study points out the increase in the Latino and Caribbean population in the US, the introduction of avocados in fast food and American restaurants, the increased consumer awareness regarding purchasing healthy foods and how importers prefer Mexican avocados over Peruvian or Colombian products, due to the quality, size and longer shelf life of the former. The analysis describes that 9 out of 10 avocados consumed in the US are Mexican Hass avocados, and highlights that this type is the most widely available.
The US is the largest importer of Mexican avocados, accounting for 1.1 million tons in 2021, according to data from the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The economic analysis identified different contributions that Mexican avocado imports have to the US economy, including US$11.2 billion in production or economic spill, US$6.1 billion in GDP, the creation of 58,299 jobs, US$3.9 billion in labor income and US$1.3 billion in taxes. "The new numbers are testimony to the positive impact that the trade relationship between the two countries has on economies in general," said Ron Campbell, Executive Director, Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association (MHAIA).
On the other hand, avocados are among the three agro-food products with the highest export value in Mexico, according to a statement by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER). "The Mexican agro-food products with the highest export value are beer, with US$ 3.4 billion, tequila and mezcal, with US$ 2.4 billion, avocado, with US$ 2.1 billion, tomato, with US$1.5 billion, and baking products, with US$ 1.2 billion,” said SADER.
Furthermore, the avocado trade generates 78,000 direct and permanent jobs, and more than 300,000 indirect and seasonal jobs each year in Mexico.
Michoacan is the leading avocado producer in Mexico, as it accounts for 75 percent of the overall production. Nonetheless, the state also faces problems derived from this activity: For many years it has been involved in territorial wars associated with criminal organizations and illegal planting in restricted areas, including the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve. In addition, environmental issues abound due to monocultural land use changes, which can lead to problems such as forest fires, illegal logging, soil erosion, water scarcity and a loss of biodiversity.