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Mexican avocado exports up 414% in eight years

Staff writer |
Mexican avocado exports have more than quadrupled in the past eight years and they are expected to achieve a new record high in 2015, driven primarily by US demand.

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Mexico produces nearly 80% of the avocados in the world, and its avocado exports amount to 46.2% of total global exports.

In the first half of the year, Mexican avocado exports amounted to 973 million dollars and 458,945 tons, i.e. annual increases of 21.7 and 27.9%, respectively.

"Mexico has had high rates of growth in exports since the United States opened its market," said Ricardo Vega, CEO of Frutícula Velo, a company located in Uruapan, Michoacan, that exports avocados to the United States, Canada, Japan and China .

After an embargo on Mexican avocados for 83 years, the United States began the gradual opening of its market in 1997. The last stage took place on January 31, 2007, when it allowed imports to California, Florida and Hawaii.

Thus, according to the Ministry of Economy, Mexico went from exporting 119,000 tons of avocado to the US in 2006 to 612,000 tons in 2014.

World demand for avocado is so high that it is common for the product to be scarce in March and April in the Mexican market, its prices soar, and the Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco) conducts operations to prevent abuses in the trade.

Mexico exports 76.6% of its avocados to the United States, 8.1% to Japan, 5.7% to Canada, and the rest to other countries, Latin America and Europe.

"Demand in the US has a tendency to grow and we hope it will continue to do so," said Enrique Tellez, managing director of the Mexican Avocado Group, a marketer of avocado with 70 employees located in Peribán, Michoacan.

The Mexican Avocado Group exports all of its product to the US, where sales grew at an annual rate of 40% over the last season which ended in June. "We have seized opportunities," Tellez said, adding that his company will continue focusing on the US market.

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