Mexican avocado producer and exporter association APEAM has announced a series of measures to support the long-term sustainability and strength of the industry. The move follows mounting international concern that illegal plantings are fuelling the deforestation of Mexico’s pine forests.
“While the avocado industry has expanded significantly to meet growing demand, APEAM has been a supporter of environmental initiatives and has led an extensive reforestation programme, planting over 500,000 pine trees throughout Michoacán over the past several years,” the association said.
“The reforestation programme continues to expand with 280,000 trees planned for 2017 and 320,000 for 2018 with trees already being grown in the nursery.”
To protect against illegal deforestation, the association, which represents more than 19,000 growers and 46 packhouses, said it has called on government authorities to enforce the law on this issue.
Last week, APEAM and the government of Michoacán published an action plan to establish agricultural and environmental limits to future expansion of planted area, as determined by academic institutions such as Michoacán State University and the National School of Agriculture Chapingo, among other organisations.
APEAM announced that a formal environmental board would also be established to study the impact of avocado production on the region and provide recommended action to further protect the natural environment.
Part of the board’s remit will be to establish certification guidelines to recognise avocados that are produced under the highest environmental standards.
“As representatives of the largest Hass avocado production area in the world, APEAM’s goal is to achieve proper balance between the growing worldwide demand for avocados, important environmental needs and the livelihood of thousands of small farm-holders and farm workers,” the association said.