Experts say you may be paying more for your avocado toast in the short term, and the effects of the U.S. temporary ban on imports of the fruit is already being felt by avocado pickers in Mexico.
Mexico is negotiating security guarantees for U.S. inspectors who certify Mexican avocados for export. The inspections were halted last week after one of the U.S. inspectors was threatened in the western state of Michoacan, where growers are routinely subject to extortion by drug cartels.
Avocado pickers stood on a roadside this week outside the city of Uruapan, Michoacan, asking for donations after they lost their work. Holding up signs saying “Voluntary donations” and “We make our living off avocado picking,” they waited for motorists to drop spare change into buckets they held.
“Since last Wednesday we haven’t picked anything,” said one of the workers, who refused to give his name because of the widespread violence in the state. “In the meantime, you die of hunger.”
While avocados that were already inspected can still be shipped north, there were signs Thursday that supplies will tighten and companies that import avocados may have to look beyond Mexico, which currently supplies about 80% of U.S. imports of the fruit.
“I think it is going to increase prices in the United States, not now because there is still avocado in transit, but I anticipate that in a week or 10 days we will have a price spike,” said Miguel Gómez, professor of applied economics and management in the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business.
Source: El Financiero