Sun, Nov 06, 2016 - Page 15 News List

Forests, locals harmed in Mexico’s avocado boom

Mexico’s lucrative avocado business is causing deforestation and attracting illegal operators, including drug gangs, while the chemicals sprayed on orchards might be harming people living near them

By Jennifer Gonzalez Covarrubias  /  AFP, JUJUCATO, Mexico

Michoacan has been known in recent years for bloody clashes between rival drug gangs, which have also moved into the avocado trade, officials said.

Some of the avocado farmers that invaded the forest are “organized crime” members, a state government official said, adding that the authorities had recouped some of that land.

There are even avocados grown as high as 2,600m above sea level, “even though they aren’t that productive,” Navia said.

One hectare of avocados generates on average about US$5,400 per year.

Mexican avocado packers recently went on strike for a few days to protest the low pay they were getting this season, which ranges from between US$1.8 and US$2.6 per kilogram.

The brief strike resulted in a global avocado price hike.

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