José Armando Lopez Orduña
Association of Producers and Packers Exporters of Avocado of Mexico, Civil Association (APEAM, A.C)
Expert Contributor

The Mexican Avocado’s Potential in the Global Market

By José Armando Lopez Orduña | Tue, 09/20/2022 - 11:00

The fact that an agricultural product has export quality goes far beyond the fact that it arrives in optimal condition at the table of a consumer outside its original country. It means that, in the international market, there is confidence in the production chain of that nation. This is the case of the Mexican Hass avocado, which has become one of the favorite fruits in many parts of the world due to its flavor, versatility in cooking and nutritional properties.

The success and recognition of the Mexican avocado worldwide, in addition to being sustained by all the efforts carried out by local exporting producers and packers, is also the result of the surveillance work and efforts carried out by organizations of the agri-food industry and authorities of the countries between which the product is commercialized.

Mexico is currently the world leader in Hass avocado exports and its main destination is the US, with 84 percent of the market, but the fruit reaches some 34 countries. The commercial relationship between these neighboring nations is celebrating 25 years and it is worth mentioning that the Mexican state of Michoacan is where most of the food is produced, with 74.8 percent of the total generated in 2021, according to figures from Statista.

Recently, Jalisco became the second Mexican entity to be approved as an exporter of avocado to the US. Likewise, other locations, such as the State of Mexico, Nayarit and Morelos, export their avocado to other countries in the world but not to our neighboring country to the north.

All this started when in 1997 the first proposal was made to export avocado from Mexico to the US under time pressure: the process would take place between the months of November and February of the following year, the season in which the fruit is consumed there as a snack during their annual National Football League season, especially during  the Super Bowl.

It was then that the first Binational Work Plan for exports was signed, originating from the need to work hard to carry out the process on the part of the authorities responsible for it in both countries. That was how the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA-APHIS) became involved with Mexican producers of the fruit.

Avocado, unlike other export products, does not undergo any type of treatment, either physical or chemical, in order to be exported, it undergoes a process of inspection of origin and traceability that includes a series of measures that seek to minimize the risk of introducing a pest to a level accepted by the importing country.

The monitoring of this regulation is done through a Cooperative Services Agreement between Mexico and the US that is stipulated in the Hass Avocado Export Program defined by both nations. The operating procedures are established through a Binational Work Plan signed by Mexico’s National Service for Agri-food Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA)  and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The resources for its execution are accorded in a Financial Plan established annually between this last instance and the Association of Producers and Packers Exporters of Avocado of Mexico (APEAM). 

This internationally renowned organization is the only cooperating partner recognized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mexico (SADER) and the USDA. It is made up of more than 30,000 producers and 74 packers from the state of Michoacan and recently added 8,420ha of orchards and 11 packing companies from Jalisco, the second-leading Mexican state that produces the fruit.

Currently, this last entity exports the fruit to Canada, Europe, Japan, Central and South America, the Middle East and Asia. But finally, after 10 years of inspections and negotiations, at the end of 2021, an agreement was signed under which Jalisco could join the Binational Work Plan for the Export of Mexican Hass Avocados to the United States. The first shipment was in July 2022.

According to the report, National Agricultural Planning 2017-2030 of the Mexican Avocado, from SADER (formerly called the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food), the cumulative growth of 67.28 percent of the production of the fruit is projected for 2030 and an increase in its exports of 109.04 percent. Regarding its consumption, an increase in world demand of 48.98 percent is estimated (to reach 4.24 million tons) and Mexican producers are ready to satisfy it.

To achieve the above and maintain its leadership, APEAM will continue to work hard, exporting more and more avocados of the best quality to the US and ensuring their availability to consumers 365 days per year, which represents a success story for the Mexican agri-food industry and its entire value chain.