“‘In a few days, the current inventory will be sold out and there will be a lack of product in almost any supermarket.”
As Americans are dealing with supply chain shortages and historic inflation rates, some might seek solace in good meals and tasty snacks.
Yet one of the most important components of comfort food has seen its prices explode.
Avocado prices hit $26.23 per nine-kilogram box, double what they cost last year. The price is nearing the highest in two decades, behind only a brief spike above $30 last July because of global demand and the end of the growing season in Mexico.
Guacamole lovers have seen the price of a single avocado rise to as much as $2.50 at their supermarkets from just $1.24 last month. They cost 99 cents in January 2021.
Raul Lopez, the Mexico manager of the market research company Agtools, told the Washington Post that prices would only continue to rise as the US depletes its avocado supply amid the suspension.
‘In a few days, the current inventory will be sold out and there will be a lack of product in almost any supermarket,’ Lopez said.
If that isn’t bad enough, the avocado supply may soon be cut off, due to threats made to US Agriculture Department inspectors.
The United States decided late last week to temporarily block all imports of avocados from Mexico after a verbal threat was made to U.S. safety inspectors working in the country.
The suspension will “remain in place for as long as necessary to ensure the appropriate actions are taken, to secure the safety of APHIS personnel working in Mexico,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a statement, referring to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
In the United States, where 80 percent of the avocados consumed come from Mexico and the average price of $1.43 an avocado was already nearly 11 percent higher than a year ago, analysts said even a two-week ban could sharply reduce availability and further increase prices.
The move is a blow to the western state of Michoacán in Mexico, the only region approved in Mexico to send avocados to the United States. There, the green fruit is a big business, with annual exports totaling nearly $3 billion. The bulk of those avocados go to the United States.
The move may also have unintended consequences, by driving farmers in the region to the illegal drug trade.
[Falko Ernst, a senior analyst for Mexico with the International Crisis Group] said a suspension could profoundly affect the livelihood of Michoacán’s avocado workers, who might be forced to turn to illicit ways to make a living or seek job opportunities in the U.S.
“We are talking about huge industries that are feeding tens of thousands of law-abiding working families,” he said. “You might cause a backlash by inadvertently harming these populations’ livelihoods.”
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