Addressing avocado industry sustainability must be a joint effort - APEAM

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Addressing avocado industry sustainability must be a joint effort - APEAM

Sustainability has become the main point of discussion for the global avocado industry after its exponential growth and success over the past decades. 

APEAM, the Association of Producers and Packers Exporters of Avocado of Mexico is taking this issue very seriously. 

APEAM is a private non-profit association founded in 1997, with its own legal capacity and consists of avocado growers, packers, and exporters. It is also the only Cooperating Member recognized by USDA and SADER.

Armando Lopez Orduna, Director of APEAM told FreshFruitPortal, "At a global level, social and environmental responsibility is being closely monitored, so we are working on all of this and complying with the development objectives.”

Reforestation programs and making crops sustainable are what the association is working on, by teaching producers to coexist with the environment. 

“We must find a way to compensate for the amount of territory that the industry requires (in Michoacan, there are over 160,000 hectares of avocados planted). I hope that working together with local authorities we can find ways to have a better relationship with the environment,” said Lopez.

Armando Lopez Orduna, Director of APEAM

World Avocado Congress

Recently, Lopez attended the 2023 World Avocado Congress in New Zealand along with 33 global producers. 

“These congresses are a great opportunity to talk about scientific advances, new varieties, cultural practices, and the appropriate use of pesticides,” said Lopez. 

Industry leaders agreed that they want to gather more often, and not just every four years when the congress is organized. 

Due to the fact that there are producers all around the world, each country has its own individual problems. Some may have issues with water usage, while some, like Mexico, have to deal with reforestation. 

This is why Lopez believes that each country has to become familiar with their own situation and address the issue effectively. 

“The industry as a whole must work together to find solutions for three issues in particular: first of all we must be sustainable, second, we must produce a high-quality fruit, regardless of how you do it, the fruit must arrive in good condition to the consumer so that they keep buying. Finally, each producer must establish marketing programs focused on growing the number of consumers, this way we can all be successful,” said Lopez. 

Promotion in the U.S. market

The biggest day for Mexican avocados in the U.S. is the Superbowl. So, how were they able to make this product an icon of this day?

In 2013, APEAM started working with the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association on a marketing agency that led to the Avocados from Mexico commercials at the Superbowl. 

The American public has become fond of these commercials and they await them with great expectation every year. Consumption remains high up to four to five weeks after the event, the period of greatest consumption of Mexican avocados in the U.S. during the year. 

“The marketing strategy and the promotion designs for Avocados from Mexico, our marketing agency, in the U.S., is based on a multicultural perspective because we have a variety of groups that are consuming the fruit, therefore we push consumption throughout different ethnic groups,” said Lopez. 

Cinco de Mayo

Regardless of what many people think, May 5, or Cinco de Mayo as it has come to be known, does not celebrate Mexican independence but rather marks the victory of the Mexican army against the French invasion. 

This day has become a day of celebration in many countries, even in Japan, where APEAM created a mascot that reflects all the different aspects of Mexican culture. 

“We have great expectations for this year, the volumes might be slightly lower than during the Superbowl, but the projections are not far, and we are prepared in terms of supply and logistics,” said Lopez about this year's Cinco de Mayo. 

APEAM is currently sending around 1,200 avocado containers to the U.S. every week over land, and around 86% of production is sent to the U.S. market alone, reaching up to 1.1 billion tons of fruit exported destined to America. 

Increase in consumption

The association is also concerned about local consumption, which Lopez indicates has increased to around 9-10 kg of avocados per capita. 

“On the other hand, in 2000 in the U.S., consumption was around 500 grams per capita, today that number has increased to more than 4kg,” said Lopez.

Lopez believes that if avocado consumption as a whole increases, both locally and in their export markets, the value of the fruit will remain. 

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