Avocado is one of the most traditionally consumed fruits in Latin America, especially in Mexico, but lately it has become a real global phenomenon. Avocado is both a symbol of prehispanic tradition and current urban culture (no respectable hipster café lacks an avocado toast).
Growing avocados requires very significant resources.
Although avocados have been a classic in Mexican cuisine for centuries, becoming popular in other parts of the world has contributed to the environmental crisis because it’s not sustainable. Avocado trees need stable climate conditions and don’t react well to low temperatures. This causes large portions of land to be used for its production, destroying diversity. The carbon footprint of a small pack of avocados is twice as much as a kilo of bananas. Next time you upload a photo of your avocado on Instagram, keep in mind that super food is not as sustainable as it seems.
Transporting this product is another big problem: the Global North eats them every day.
Because avocado is produced mainly in Mexico, Central and South America, its transportation to countries in the Global North, such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, leaves a considerable footprint on the consumption of non-renewable energy. Furthermore, the mass production of avocado makes independent farmers practically disappear or receive less for more. Avocado is a multi-billion dollar crop in a world where profits dictate agricultural policies.
The land where avocado is grown is valuable, and Michoacan farmers are defending it against drug traffickers.
The state of Michoacán is the region that produces the most avocado in the world. Farmers have had a very difficult time lately due to the role that drug traffickers intend to play in the crop. Due to the large profits generated by avocado, criminal groups such as Los Viagra are charging protection and land use fees to producers, who have already organized self-defense groups to confront crime.
Mexican ingenuity is already seeking solutions to avocado’s environmental impact.
One of the biggest problems with mass avocado production is how to handle seed residue. They take up a large volume and take a long time to decompose naturally. Also, if they are left anywhere and they manage to germinate, the avocado could become an invasive species But a Mexican company is using the seeds to make straws and cutlery that are strong and fully biodegradable, as reported by Business Insider. See the manufacturing process in this video: