Published On: Mon, Jun 17th, 2019

Mexican avocado in grave danger due to organized crime

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Every day, avocado producers are victims of robberies and lose an average of four loaded trucks of around 12 tons (26,448 pounds) on the state’s highways, during the journey from the orchards to the packing zones.

MICHOACÁN Mexico. (La Jornada) – Packers and exporters of avocado in Michoacán are desperate and ask for the immediate intervention of the government of López Obrador who according to them, “has not moved a finger against organized crime”.

Man detained driving a stolen avocado truck in Michoacan (Photo: Archive)

Every day, avocado producers are victims of robberies and lose an average of four loaded trucks of around 12 tons (26,448 pounds) during the journey from the orchards to the packing zones on the state’s highways. They ask the authorities to stop the criminal gangs, which threaten the economic activity and the lives of the workers.

In an ad that began to circulate this week in the national press, the guild, grouped in the “Association of Export Producers and Packers of Avocado from Mexico” (Apeam), the “Union of Packers and Traders of Avocado of Michoacan” (Udecam) and the “Association of Packers of Periban”, launches a warning: “if a truck loaded with this product is stolen on the way from the orchard to the packing area, instead of full price, the producer only gets paid 15 pesos per kilo”.

They claim that taking these measures is extremely painful but necessary, since they cannot longer sustain the losses. and they assure that not stopping the theft of trucks will have an irreparable impact on the avocado industry.

In the text, avocado packers and exporters denounce that there has been a worsening of the situation of insecurity since the arrival of the López Obrador’s government and they suffer daily during the transfers.

“Apart from theft and kidnapping of the units and drivers, we expose our physical integrity given the prevailing insecurity on the roads we must travel to reach the destination with the product already packed”. They expose.

That is why they demand that the authorities of the three orders of government, federal, state and municipal, undertake an effective fight against crime.

“Given the inability and opacity of all authorities to stop this violence and deal with crime, we respectfully communicate that it is impossible to continue to face losses, as well as the strong economic impact that this generates”. In the text, the packing and exporting guild also addresses the producer members, to whom they ask for their understanding and support.

The production of avocado, known as “green gold” originates in the fertile lands of Michoacán and is exported practically all over the world.

Producers and exporters of avocado have to share the territory with the activities of different groups of organized crime that dispute both the production, distribution and transfer of drugs, as extortion and theft from various industries of the entity. The latter are dedicated to the production of various basic foods for the diet of Mexicans, mining and the transfer of goods.

The British newspaper, “The Guardian” addressed the situation of insecurity affecting the avocado growers. It recalled that Michoacán was the testing ground for Mexico’s military war on drugs launched in 2006.

A group of armed men photographed in Michoacán

Falko Ernst, Mexico’s senior analyst for the “International Crisis Group” points out: “There are at least 20 illegal armed groups violently competing for territories and markets in that entity. However, none has been able to establish dominance over the others. That means the war has become perpetual and extremely costly for the criminal groups”. He explained.

“The avocado sector, a billion-dollar industry, is, after all, too attractive (for the armed groups) to pass up, and producers and exporters bear part of the cost” Falko Ernst said.

“The Association of Export Producers and Packers of Avocado from Mexico” or Apeam in Spanish, was founded in 1977 and its main task is to promote the export of Mexican fruit.

It is the only association recognized before the Mexican and U.S. agricultural authorities for the export of Mexican avocado. It is also in charge of the promotion of the fruit in other countries under the brand “Aguacates de México”.

The association has 26,234 producers, 58 packers and in the 2017-2018 season exported 869,057 tons to the United States, according to data from that group.

San Miguel Times



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