Avocado producers in Michoacán took direct action this week to protest against fruit grown in other parts of the country being exported illegally from the Mexican state to the US.
Michoacán is the only state in Mexico included in the USDA’s certified export programme, and this has led to a surge in attempts by growers in other states to pass their fruit off as Michoacán-grown avocados so that they can access the US market.
Around one thousand growers mounted checkpoints on major highways this week in a bid to prevent production from other states from entering the state.
José Luis Mata of the Michoacán Avocado Producers Association said around 70 per cent of the state’s avocado producers had suspended production and would not return to work until the authorities take action to curb the abuse.
“We must not allow these anomalies which are disloyal to Michoacán producers, especially smallholders and small-scale producers who are the most affected,” Mata said.
He claimed that the arrival and subsequent export to the US of low quality fruit from other parts of Mexico is forcing down prices and damaging the market for all Mexican producers.
Michoacán has around 120,000ha of avocado farms, producing well over 1m tonnes of the green gold every year, most of which is sold in the US.
The sector provides direct employment for almost 17,000 people and another 70,000 indirectly.