Mexican avocado industry says its committed to sustainability and forest preservation
Avocados from Mexico celebrated Earth Day on April 17 with an online presentation about the industry’s sustainable work, and a new educational video.
Ana Ambrosi, director of corporate communications for Avocados from Mexico, was the speaker for the event. Earth Day is April 22.
She opened by noting that the Mexican avocado industry is “very committed to sustainability and forest preservation and one key element of forest preservation, or conservation is biodiversity.”
Protecting bees and other pollinators in Michoacan and Mexico, in general, is important to her industry and the environment. “Without a healthy planet, there can be no avocado industry and really no industry at all.”
The Mexican avocado industry’s “Green Agenda” aligns with the UN 2030 agenda.
This presentation was on behalf of the Avocado Institute, which was created by the parent organizations of Avocados from Mexico, the Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico (APEAM), and Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association (MHAIA).
In a release tied into the April 17 event, Ambrosi indicated: “We need a healthy planet with lush forests and happy pollinators to continue growing the freshest avocados in the world, so it’s vital that sustainability is central to our strategy. For the Avocado Institute, Earth Day is more than a one-day celebration of sustainability. It’s an annual reminder of the importance of prioritizing our environment all year long.”
Protecting pollinators is an important part of preserving and enhancing biodiversity. Without the help of bees and other wild pollinators, avocado trees would not have the resources and support they need to grow: Studies show that avocado orchards have more than a 25% increase in avocado production when domesticated and wild pollinators are present.
To meet the increased consumer demand for avocados, Mexico’s avocado industry must support healthy populations of pollinators in its avocado orchards. In Mexico, 80% of avocado production is due to pollinators.
To protect and further increase the presence of pollinators, Mexico’s avocado industry is taking the following steps:
- To ensure bees are present to support avocado pollination, 30% of avocado orchards in Michoacán have invested in on-site beehives or work with local beekeepers to intentionally increase the presence of these pollinators.
- The Mexican avocado industry is working to protect the monarch butterfly, an important native pollinator in Mexico. Through MHAIA’s partnership with Forests For Monarchs, it has planted more than 1.2 million trees in and around the biosphere and watersheds of Michoacán to protect the environment and reforest the area close to the monarch reserve.
Maintaining & Establishing Habitats Through Forest Preservation
The industry release explains that, because avocados grow on trees, forest preservation is essential in the ongoing viability of the industry. To address this, the Mexican avocado industry has a program that focuses on preserving more than 1.3 million acres of the Avocado Strip, the area in Michoacán where the avocado orchards are located. This includes working to prevent and respond to fires, creating a biological corridor, and developing research aimed at the sustainable use of soil and water. In addition to these programs, the Mexican avocado industry is committed to healthy forests through:
Supporting various extensive reforestation programs, planting nearly 2.9 million trees and reforesting approximately 5,200 acres throughout Michoacán since 20116.
Establishing agricultural and environmental limits to ensure new avocado harvesting areas don’t negatively impact biodiversity, in partnership with the government of Michoacán.
Responsible Agricultural Stewards
Part of the Mexican avocado industry’s commitment to being good environmental stewards is making sure that their farming practices support sustainability. This means considering the environmental impact on every part of the avocado journey, including the agrochemicals used, and water use.
Mexico’s avocado industry is further minimizing its environmental footprint through initiatives like exclusively using agrochemicals that are plant and flower friendly and only applying them during the times of day when bees and other pollinators aren’t active. Also, the industry relies on rainfall and natural, seasonal irrigation for approximately 61% of the avocado orchards in Michoacán. Another 36% utilize sustainable, high-tech irrigation such as drip irrigation and micro-sprinkling. Together that means up to 97% of avocado orchards in the region depend primarily on sustainable irrigation practices.