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Mexico markets may have to sell avocados grown from other countries

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Avocado production is booming in Mexico, with growing markets in the U.S., Canada and Japan. Photo: Getty

Mexico City — In the near future, that plate of avocados might very well have come from … Peru?

Mexico supplies 45 percent of the world’s avocados, but the Ministry of Economy is already analyzing the possibility of importing avocado when exports are in high demand.

The plan is meant to keep avocado prices here down while enjoying healthy wholesale action overseas.

After finishing his participation in the presentation of the 17th National Entrepreneur Week, Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said that imports could be brought in from South America, according to Milenio.

“We do not dismiss the idea, although it seems ridiculous, to bring avocados of other latitudes in the times where we are so successful in its export,” he said, in Spanish.

He added that the countries most suitable imports are those that make up the Pacific Alliance, such as Peru and Chile.

For U.S. consumers of Mexican avocados, prices spiked in July, but Bloomberg News reported that prices could drop soon. The headline for that story was “You Can Finally Afford Both a House and Avocado Toast.”

A confluence of factors drove the wholesale cost of Hass avocados from Mexico, the biggest supplier to the U.S., to more than double this year. U.S. consumers are eating more of the green stuff than ever before, and growers in Mexico and California were struggling to keep up with demand amid dry weather. But the tightness could start to ease next year as trees enter the higher-yielding half of a two-year cycle.

The wholesale cost has dropped more than 6 percent from a record reached earlier in July. At Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., while higher prices for the fruit eroded earnings earlier this year, bigger-than-expected supplies from Mexico this month means the gains have started to ease, Chief Financial Officer John Hartung said on an earnings call this week. Still, with a whopping 6.3 million uses of the hashtag #Avocado on Instagram, it doesn’t look like demand is going to slow down anytime soon.

“Prices in the foreseeable future will stabilize a little, and you won’t see a sharp incline,” said Robert Bonghi, the Suwanee, Georgia-based director of procurement and pricing at the Produce Alliance, which provides fresh food to food-service clients. “Growers are trying to put more trees in the ground to keep up,” but “you’re not going to see 10 avocados for a dollar,” he said.

Mexico is the world’s largest avocado producer for a reason. the avocado is native to Central Mexico where its history has been traced to the state of Puebla.

Sources: Sipse, Bloomberg

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