The “green gold”(avocado)popularity it‘s becoming a harmful business.


Mexico is the principal producer of avocado worldwide; more than 30% of all avocados in the world are produced here. Such popularity has risen in USA, where approximately 95,000 ton are exported each year because of the Super Bowl event.


In 2015, Mexico reported avocado exports of 774,600 ton valued at $1,500 million dollars, a growth of 13% in a year, In 2015, avocado production in Mexico was 1.6 million tons, 6.6% more than the previous year and 90% of the avocados that leave Mexico goes to the United States according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fishing and Food (SAGARPA). A km2 of avocado generates $5,377 dollars per year. .Japan also is one of the countries that have raised the consumption of avocado and more than the 90% of avocados consumed here are from Mexico. In 2015 sales to Japan went from $40 million dollars to $106 million dollars. The cultivation of avocado generates approximately 250,000 direct and indirect jobs. This activity, therefore, has contributed significantly in the generation of employment and the decrease of the migration of the state towards the United States.



But of course not everything is that beautiful, the plantation of avocado is not only a highly profitable activity, but also is damaging the environment and people living in the surroundings of the plantations, this time the problem is focused in the avocado capital in Michoacán, Mexico where 1,370 km2 are designated to the plantations with a high rate of deforestation per year, going around 2.5%. The cultivation and popularity of avocado begins in 1970 but since 2003 the demand of this product has been raising quickly making the producers to satisfy the demand through the expansion of the crops. The deforestation it’s only the beginning of the problem, but the agrochemicals are polluting the air, the people says, because since the high plantation activity has increased, the problems with respiratory and stomach diseases has increased too, also liver and kidney problems have been detected when there had not been before but started at the time when the crops were expanded and began to use all kinds of pesticides.



There are avocado plantations up to 2,600 meters above sea level (even if they are not as productive) which also generates another risk because if the agrochemicals run down may go off into streams, rivers or lakes below.


The people and farmers are taking actions. Some farmers and authorities are being organized to stop the expansion of crops and recover land invaded from the forests of Michoacán.


Since last August, there have been operations with security forces in which have already recovered many km2 and arrested a hundred people responsible for this, most of them day laborers who were released. Investigations were also opened against the owners of these crops, according to Michoacán Secretary of the Environment. In addition, a label is being created for the consumer to identify forest-friendly avocado crops.


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