Sharp increase in Latin American avocado exports over past years

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Sharp increase in Latin American avocado exports over past years

Latin America currently produces 75% of all avocados in the market worldwide. Countries like Mexico and Colombia have more than doubled their volumes in the last decade, showing the favorable conditions for the fruit in the region. 

Colombia in particular, almost three-folded its production in just five years, from 2015 to 2020, going from 309,852 tons to 876,754 tons. The latest projections suggest that the now second-largest supplier of avocados in Latin America will soon outdistance Africa and Asia in export volumes.

Mexican producers have also enjoyed great success in increasing their volumes from 1.1 million tons in 2010 to 2.4 in 2020. 

The main export market for all Latam countries remains the U.S., where consumption has increased constantly in recent years, mainly due to the health benefits that the fruit offers. 

This year, Colombian exporters took advantage of the biggest day for avocados in the U.S.: Superbowl Sunday. It is estimated that nearly 20% of all avocados consumed yearly are enjoyed for that period only. 

Threats to the ecosystem

In every producing country, the so-called “green gold” causes controversy due to its high environmental impact. Whether it be deforestation or the tree's water requirements, the environmental footprint is always part of the discussion. 

In Colombia, the population has become concerned with the use of water, since farmers are increasing their hectares, and watering their crops with one of the country's key ecosystems: paramos. 

These bodies of water found in high altitudes generate 85% of the country's drinking water.  Growing avocado farmers are buying the land near the source and blocking traditional farmers from access to water. 

Andean forests found below and around paramos which supply moist air are being replaced by avocado plantations, and communities nearby are already feeling the effects. 

In Chile, another producing country, which has been struggling with decades-long drought, avocado production has caused major struggles for communities. 

These negative effects show that the industry, along with producers, have a responsibility of finding more sustainable ways of producing the highly desired and profitable fruit. 

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