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Avocado Crisis Looms as Prices Escalate and Supply from Mexico May Be Cut

Avocado Crisis Looms as Prices Escalate and Supply from Mexico May Be Cut

“‘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.”

I am grateful that the supply carried us over through the annual Super Bowl party.

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Great more illegal immigrants and more drug smuggling. A win for both Joe and Hunter.

Oh no, no more avocado toast for the urban lefty millennials. Cry me a river.

Meanwhile actual Biden inflation in gas, housing, and essential foods rages on.

    Also going to piss off all the Mexican ex-pats and Hispanics. You think urban lefties love avocados, try the folks who grew up with them in their back yard.

    Might as well have a pecan shortage in Texas.

The phrase “avocado crisis” is laugh out loud funny all by itself.

Ecstatic to read at least one bad-news article today about which I give absolutely zero fraks either way.

Subotai Bahadur | February 16, 2022 at 8:17 pm

Other supply chains are drying up too. The American diet is going to get a lot blander and a lot less green vegetable and meat centered. Thank you Leftists and COVID Karens.

Subotai Bahadur

The backlash is going to be the cartel hunting down the low level thug who thought he could extort US ag inspectors with phone call. A couple of weeks after his headless body is identified the suspension will be lifted.

There was a commercial during the Super Bowl extolling Mexican avocados. Either too late or too early.

60 gallons of water needed to grow one avocado.

Just saying.

    There is a chance that some of that water is returned to the atmosphere.

      Correct. A 100% chance, in fact.

      People not knowing the Earth is a closed ecosystem is the kind of ignorance one expects from the likes of Whoopi Goldberg.

      There is no ‘wasting’ water – only paying a market price for where water is on the planet in any given era. And it changes year to year.

      Right, Whoopi?

        I once told a greenie not to worry about conserving water because it’s the ultimate renewable resource. “Just wait a bit,” I said, “and it will literally fall from the sky.”

        I was more than a little horrified when I realized that she thought that was a bad thing. You see, it’s all acid rain so we would be better off without it.

        This was years ago. The madness has only gotten worse since.

          Milhouse in reply to irv. | February 17, 2022 at 12:24 am

          Water conservation is important in some places. There are many places where it may be a while before enough of it falls from the sky, so they do have to be more efficient about using what they have. But that’s no reason to conserve it in those places where it’s plentiful.

          Fatkins in reply to irv. | February 17, 2022 at 5:44 am

          @irv

          As per Milhouse with the added addition of this. A lot of water is drawn from ground water in many places, that’s not an infinite supply and has consequences when too much is used. Its a finite resource and taking from one place limits supply somewhere else. Of course as Milhouse says if its plentiful its not an issue but many industrial and agricultural processes require huge amounts of water and that’s not necessarily sustainable when looking at the totality of the system.

          Paul in reply to irv. | February 17, 2022 at 9:52 am

          Fatkins is correct that ground water resources can be over-drawn, although this is another area where you have to be careful listening to progressive histrionics. Aquifers can, and do, re-charge all the time. You’ll very often hear progressives spout nonsense about how long it takes them to re-charge/re-fill.

          Another problem with over-drawn groundwater resources is that this can cause “subsidence” which is the sinking of the land on top of the aquifer. This can be a very real problem in some areas. Often when you hear progs screeching about “rising sea levels” what they are really (mostly) referring to is subsidence in a localized area.

          The entire Houston metro area is fighting subsidence issues related to groundwater usage. A multi-billion dollar project is well underway to move 1,000+ small water systems off of ground-water and onto a shared surface-water treatment infrastructure.

          henrybowman in reply to irv. | February 18, 2022 at 8:06 pm

          You don’t even have to wait for it to fall from the sky. Mine goes right back into the ground about 100 yards from the wellhead. It’s not like I’m shipping it out of state!

        I work in the water industry, and there is a saying: “There is no water shortage, although sometimes there is a money shortage.”

        It all comes down to getting clean water where it is wanted/needed. Sometimes that becomes prohibitively expensive, for a variety of reasons. Sometimes those are legitimate reasons…. if you build a city in the desert you’re going to have to import water from somewhere else, and moving water is expensive.

        But mostly we have poor public-policy decision making resulting in localized water scarcity. The California water debacle is a perfect case study. Tearing down damns (and reservoirs), failure to build any new reservoirs while the population doubles, insane water management decisions to “save” tiny critters while ignoring the needs of larger, two-legged critters, shutting down de-sal projects because of some theoretical “damage” that might be done to the ocean’s ecosystems…. you name it… progressive fantasies are literally starving the state of water.

        Here on the Ranch, we know we can’t waste water — just power for the well pump.

So, ya’know… you can do so much with an avocado. I like them. The flavors vary depending on the stage of ripeness and you learn to pick them to your preference–kind’a like with bananas, pineapples or so many other tasty delights.

The price varies by season and location. In very NE Massachusetts I set a limit of no more than $1/per for a tantalizing avocado. The short sale rack is often productive as folks will avoid those that are at “peak” flavor.

If I was Mexican, I would Obamigrate to the U.S. without hesitation. Interesting to see how many of my former military friends have gleefully migrated to Mexico, at least while they are healthy.

There was a Super Bowl? Come to think of it I did hear something about that, but I didn’t pay much attention. So it was already?

    Peabody in reply to Milhouse. | February 17, 2022 at 12:02 am

    Yeah, Super Bowls come every year and each year they are a little less super than the year before. Pretty soon they will just be bowls.

      They’re rapidly approaching “toilet bowl” status.

      henrybowman in reply to Peabody. | February 17, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      I’m old enough to remember Super Bowl I. In those days, bowl games had homey, evocative names like Cotton, Sugar, and Rose. Barely into HS, I remember thinking that Super was a crap name that showed both arrogance and total lack of imagination. In retrospect, that was pretty prescient. Then again, I also wasn’t a fan of Cassius Clay’s arrogant trash talk.

America! What a country! Where our biggest problem is avocado prices.
Only America! LOL.

Give me my avocados, or give me death, said no one, ever. I do like guacamole though. Anyway, I was shopping today, and chicken wings are $5 a pound. So just add avocados to the chicken wing list of stuff I will not buy anymore.

    Peabody in reply to amwick. | February 17, 2022 at 12:06 am

    Yeah, it’s getting bad. George Soros says they way it’s going pretty soon he will add elections to the list of stuff he won’t buy anymore.

    Milhouse in reply to amwick. | February 17, 2022 at 12:21 am

    Huh. Just last week, at a kosher supermarket in Brooklyn, I bought some at $1.50 a pound, and those were kosher, so they should cost at least 50% more than non-kosher. And they were already marinated so all I had to do was put them in a pan and bake them.

Whole Food shoppers everywhere, unaware of recent guacamole dipping, Super Bowl partiers, tremble, wail, rend their garments.

AnAdultInDiapers | February 17, 2022 at 4:54 am

I can’t actually tell if this article intends to share a serious issue or if it’s provided for light relief.

Maybe avocados are more important there than they are here.

    The serious part is emphasizing how much of our supply chain is subject to what happens elsewhere in the world. Something like threatening our inspection folks is a good way to get no inspections, and therefore no imports.

      henrybowman in reply to GWB. | February 17, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      You know that’s just fedguv propaganda, covering for Brandon’s deliberate shutdown of the avocado pipeline.

Avocado crisis is an oxymoron.

Oh no! Anyway…

It says something for their advertising that whenever I see avocados, I have to hum that stupid jingle in my head.

“♫ Avocados from Mexico! ♫”

    henrybowman in reply to georgfelis. | February 17, 2022 at 12:43 pm

    I actually don’t know that one. But I can still sing all the words to Chiquita Banana, including the smutty ones we passed around in fourth grade.

Ninety percent of the US avocados are grown in California–Southern CA. I live in SoCal–San Diego area. This area is basically a desert. Technically an “arid zone”. We get 12 inches (+/-) of rain on a good year, and the rainfall is highly variable. Most years, it is less, often a lot less. “Droughts” of five to ten years occur all the time–with rainfall half of “normal” plus or minus. I use the scare quotes because it is absolutely characteristic of the climate here. Then we get a year or two with 20+ inches. Usually in a fairly short period of time. Typically, we will go about nine months with no appreciable rain. Avocados evolved in a climate where it pretty much rains every day or two, year around. They want a steady supply of water–hence irrigation for most of the year.

Avocados are a jungle tree. Avocados require a LOT of water. Not only that, but it also has to be high quality water–being a jungle tree, it wants rain water. Water in SoCal is some combination of Colorado River water and/or well water. Both are high in dissolved solids (salt, and other minerals). The water district water quality is getting worse all the time and vastly more expensive.
The economics of planting avocados were some combination of banning imports from Mexico–where the tree grows wild–and the usual politically driven subsidies of one sort or another. When the import ban was dropped a decade or so, avocado orchards suddenly were abandoned.
Now, for the ultimate idiocy. I have a friend that is in the industrial scale solar power business. Megawatt+ installations. He has customers that have installed huge solar arrays to run huge reverse osmosis systems to blend RO water with well, or worse, municipal water to get the water quality sufficiently decent to support avocados.
I really don’t understand the economics, but I DO know that you and I funded a fair chunk of this.
So, the dingbats that are cheering on the US supply of avocados are just that–dingbats. Yes, you CAN grow avocados here. “Should” is quite another matter.

    henrybowman in reply to lichau. | February 18, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Well, see, if we make ’em here in America, we don’t have to worry about our strategic avocado supply getting stuck on long lines of barges waiting to dock in Douglas AZ.

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