Michoacán exported US$500m of avocados in 2015, making this the number one agricultural export from the Mexican state.
Antonio Villaseñor Zurita, president of grower-exporter association APEEAM said shipments reached 774,692 tonnes last year, 105,000 tonnes more than in the previous year.
While around 90 per cent of this was destined for the US, the industry is working hard to diversify its export markets and it now counts several markets in Europe, Asia and the Americas, including Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, Chile, Spain, France, the Netherlands and the UK.
According to Villaseñor, the federal government has been instrumental in promoting the industry, providing US$1.5m in funding for overseas promotions and certification of fields and packhouses.
However, he noted that funding levels would be cut this year in light of the ongoing corruption charges against Sagarpa.
“We still don’t have the information on what the final figure will be but we do know that the available funds will be more limited,” he said. “This will undoubtedly be a challenging year and we hope that we can maintain our current export volume.”
Asked about the competition faced by Michoacán in the North American market from other supply sources, Villaseñor said the downward trend in Californian production would likely continue due to the ongoing drought. He pointed out that between them, California and Peru supply 20-25 per cent of the avocados consumed in the US every year.
“We also know that Jalisco could soon be granted access to the US market and already ships to other markets such as Japan, Canada and Europe,” he added.
Around 300,000 people are employed directly or indirectly in avocado production in Michoacán.