Mexican avocado conflict leads to U.S. supply shortage

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Mexican avocado conflict leads to U.S. supply shortage

A conflict that has gripped Mexico's avocado sector over the last couple of weeks in a key growing region appears to be ending, but the disruption to exports has led to an undersupplied U.S. market.avocado_1516706

It is understood the row related to the prices paid by the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Mexico (APEAM) to growers.

Local media reported avocado farmworkers and producers in some areas of the Michoacan region had blocked roads and occupied the APEAM offices over recent days.

In a release, APEAM said avocado harvests and exports were now resuming.

"Fortunately the problem has now been resolved and the offices of the association and the local plant health authorities that had been occupied have now been vacated," the release said.

APEAM claimed there were producers who had wanted to continue harvesting fruit but had been unable to do so.

"Because of this situation, on Tuesday only 363 out of 900 planned harvests were carried out, preventing 3,000 people from working and providing an income for their families," the group added.

Avocados from Mexico's Dallas-based director Álvaro Luque said many U.S. retailers were worried about the low volumes coming from the country and had abandoned their 'Super September' promotion.

"Around 70% of avocado exports had been put on hold and they lost space on the shelves of the major supermarkets," he said in the release, adding the Mexican avocado industry's image had been put in jeopardy.

Local media reported Mexican avocado prices in southern California reached their highest levels in three decades, with a box of 40-48-sized fruit selling at US$76 on average.

Per-kilo prices of Mexican avocados reached US$4.76 in week 40, compared to US$1.96 last year and US$2.34 in 2014, according to Agronometrics.

California-based Ingardia Brothers Produce owner Sam Ingardia was quoted as saying by the company had been 'impacted quite a bit', and that its avocado stocks were currently half what they would normally be.

According to the Hass Avocado Board (HAB), 6,232MT of Mexican avocados were shipped into the U.S. in week 40, compared to 20,113MT and 12.713MT in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

"While we recognize the fact that Americans love their avocados, it also means that the market requires a steady supply to satisfy our growing appetite for this healthy fruit," the HAB said in a statement.

"Avocados sold in the United States are produced in California and imported from Mexico, Chile, Peru and other countries.

"Unfortunately a disruption of imports from Mexico has resulted in lower volume than anticipated. However, American importers are working with other producing countries to make up for those declines."

The Mexican avocado industry is taking a number of steps to ensure that further disruptions to trade do not occur, according to



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