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Danish supermarkets change avocado supply policies

Staff Writer |
Two of Denmark's largest grocery chains have made changes to their supply of avocados from Chile.

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The green fruit is so popular with consumers in Western countries that it has indirectly led to water shortages and deforestation in the Chilean province of Petorca, according to a study from the media and research centre DanWatch.

"When we were approached by DanWatch, we got in contact with our suppliers and we asked them to take the necessary measures to avoid buying goods from plantations that have been involved in the illegal extraction of water," said Thomas Bang, Aldi's Deputy General Manager Purchasing.

Chile is among the major exporters of avocados, with over half of them grown on plantations in the Petorca province; however, water consumption is large.

On average, 70 litres of water are required to produce an avocado; in Petorca, however, four times as much water is needed, namely 320 litres.

Dansk Supermarked has changed its policy after it became aware of the problems in the province, stated press officer Mads Hvitved Grand.

Dansk Supermarket is now buying avocados from other suppliers or countries to avoid areas affected by water scarcity.

According to the report from DanWatch, there are rivers in the Petorca province that have dried out because of the great number of avocado orchards in the area.

Local people are seriously affected by water scarcity and, according to Matias Guiloff, professor at the University Diego Portales in Chile, this is violating their human rights to water.

"We are talking about people who are confronted with water shortages on a daily basis and who have to have water brought in by trucks, affecting their ability to live a life with dignity," he concluded.

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