Mexico’s Quest to Satisfy Avocado Demand

09 October 2018

Americans’ love affair with avocados shows no sign of abating. Whether they are mashed into guacamole on Super Bowl Sunday or fashioned into avocado toast—the subject of many a joke targeting millennials—Americans eat an estimated 4.25 billion avocados each year. That’s more than four times as much as in 2000, and the rate of growth is expected to continue.

The United States, which once had a vibrant avocado industry of its own, now turns to Mexico for about 85 percent of the avocados it consumes. Mexico, conveniently located next door, and with a mild climate and fertile volcanic soils that make avocados a year-round crop, has taken advantage of growing US demand to propel a veritable boom in its avocado production.

That growth has come at a cost, however. Expansion of avocado plantations has brought substantial deforestation of Mexico’s native pine forests. And profits from avocado exports have attracted organized-crime gangs seeking protection money from growers. Mexican officials are attempting to alleviate such problems, but challenges remain.

Gro Intelligence recently launched data from SIAP, which is Mexico’s Agricultural and Fisheries Information Service. This data source provides insight into the production and trade of many valuable commodities produced by Mexico. Gro subscribers can readily chart and visualize a wide range of annual and monthly data to help make predictions about markets and global trade. In this week’s Gro Intelligence Insight article, we examine Mexico’s avocado industry and its importance to the US market.

Read more:

Mexico and the Avocado
Consumption Grows Unabated
The Price of Production

Mexico and the Avocado

Avocados have been in Mexico for an estimated 10,000 years, growing wild before being cultivated some 5,000 years ago. With the arrival of European explorers in the 1500s, the fruit quickly spread to other tropical regions including the Caribbean and the Philippines. Avocados were introduced to Hawaii in 1825, followed by Florida and California. Today, it is grown commercially throughout tropical regions of the Americas, and in similar climates in countries such as New Zealand, Israel, South Africa, southern France, and Spain.

Production of avocados has always been important in Mexico, where the fruit is used in cultural dishes and provides jobs to nearly 500,000 people. Thirty years ago, Mexico produced about 566,000 tonnes per year. This jumped by last year to 1.64 million tonnes. The USDA forecasts Mexico’s avocado production will rise again in 2017/18 to 1.8-1.9 million tonnes. Most of that production—an estimated 87 percent—comes from the state of Michoacán, which has over 120,000 hectares of land in production. According to the Association of Avocado Producers, Packers and Exporters of Michoacán (APEAM), for every 10 avocados sold in the US, eight were grown in Michoacán state.

Mexico’s avocado yields generally range from 8-10 tonnes per hectare, which can be influenced by avocado cultivar, the age of the tree, weather, and level of technology used on the farm. Adoption of more advanced technology like machinery for harvest, and irrigation systems can help increase yields.

The state of Michoacán, southeast of Colima on the map, dominates Mexico’s avocado production because of its ideal climate and fertile soils. For every 10 avocados sold in the US, eight are grown in Michoacán, the state growers’ association says.
Mexico’s avocado yields (blue line) have stayed relatively constant at 8-10 tonnes per hectare even as production (green bars) has increased rapidly over the past 30 years.

Consumption Grows Unabated

Mexico’s booming avocado sector has largely been influenced by US consumption. The fruit’s “superfood” status, and huge marketing efforts, prompted US consumers to develop a growing taste for avocados over the last 20 years. On Super Bowl Sunday alone, Americans eat an average 120 million pounds of avocados, mostly in guacamole. According to the Hass Avocado Board, Americans consumed 1 billion avocados in 2000. Today, that figure is over 4.25 billion, with no signs of slowing down.

The US also produces avocados, mostly in California. But US output, amounting to 172,630 tonnes last year, pales next to avocado imports of 900,185 tonnes, a record amount. Unlike their neighbors in Mexico, US producers struggle with growing avocados year-round because of climatic differences that limit production to certain areas. California researchers are experimenting with new varieties that are more tolerant of colder climates.

Many countries grow avocados, but Mexico’s output takes the lead by a wide margin.The chart above shows the world’s top-five producers by volume.
Even as US avocado imports soar (green bars), domestic production stagnates (blue line).

Mexico’s avocado exports soared to nearly 1 million tonnes from 208,349 tonnes in the decade ending 2016, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO. Exports rose again in 2017/18 to 1.02 million tonnes, and are expected to increase 5 percent to 1.07 million tonnes in 2018/19. An estimated 78 percent of Mexico’s avocado exports head to the US.

Mexico also exports avocados to Japan, Canada, France, and Spain, and is looking to further diversify export markets, especially during times of trade uncertainty with the US. Demand in China is growing, and the country is expected to import approximately 16,000 tonnes this year, according to APEAM. Ramón Paz, spokesman for the growers’ association, said export volume to China depends largely on the availability of avocados, because fulfilling US market demand is the top priority.

Mexico’s avocado exports are rapidly rising due to increasing demand, especially from the US.

The Price of Production

Mexico’s growing avocado production has come at a cost. Rising exports have been profitable for some producers and that, in turn, has attracted the attention of local organized crime gangs who look to extort farmers and packers. The practice has earned the fruit the nicknames “blood avocado” and “green gold.” Some municipalities are fighting back. Tancítaro, a municipality in Michoacán, has set up autodefensas—a self-defense specialized police force organized by the citizens and funded partially by the avocado farmers to help protect the local economy.

Another cost of growing production has been deforestation as large areas of land are cleared to make way for more avocado trees. This deforestation is highly unsustainable—clearing forests can disturb wildlife, and decreased vegetation can contribute to higher levels of greenhouse gases. A report published by Mexico’s National Institute for Forestry, Farming and Fisheries Research estimates that 690 hectares of forest were cleared every year between 2000 and 2010 to grow more avocados. Most of these forests are of pine and fir trees, which thrive at the same altitude and climate as avocado trees. This area also is home to the Monarch butterfly’s Mexican winter habitat, so rapid deforestation could imperil the species’ population and health.

Government efforts to reduce deforestation have struggled. A program of conservation subsidies, for instance, essentially paying farmers not to grow avocados, failed to overcome the problem that the fruit was more profitable than the subsidies, according to a study by the University of Miami Law School. Such programs also are hard to enforce, and illegal plantings, including in protected Monarch butterfly grounds, continue to elude authorities. APEAM also says it has conducted reforestation efforts, planting thousands of pine seedlings.

Deforestation is a significant problem in Mexico’s avocado growing regions. The display above shows NDVI, or normalized difference vegetation index, a satellite-generated measure of live green vegetation. NDVI maps since 2011, when data became available, show decreasing areas with green, or higher levels of vegetation, and increasing areas with orange, or less vegetation.


Growing avocado consumption shows no sign of slowing, and this will continue to drive production, particularly in Mexico, and global trade of the tropical fruit. The trend will continue to put pressure on land use and depleted forests. Mexican officials are aware of the importance of finding a sustainable route for continued growth of the avocado sector. Additional conservation efforts, as well as further research to increase per-hectare yields, may be needed to maintain this important segment of Mexico’s agricultural economy.

Global agriculture data at your fingertips

Want to learn more?

Request a demo


Receive our research in your inbox


Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter!

Contact sales
Gro Intelligence Privacy Policy

This Privacy Policy describes the policies and procedures of Gro Intelligence, Inc. (“we”, “our” or “us”) on the collection, use and disclosure of your information on (the “Site”) and the services, features, content or applications we offer (collectively with the Site, the “Services”). We receive information about you from your use of the Services generally. When you use the Services, you are consenting to the collection, transfer, manipulation, storage, disclosure and other uses of your information as described in this Privacy Policy.

What Does This Privacy Policy Cover?

This Privacy Policy covers the treatment of personally identifiable information (“Personal Information”) gathered when you are using or accessing the Services. This Privacy Policy also covers our treatment of any Personal Information that our business partners share with us or that we share with our business partners.

This Privacy Policy does not apply to the practices of third parties that we do not own or control, including but not limited to any third party websites, services and applications (“Third Party Services”) that you elect to access through the Service or to individuals that we do not manage or employ. While we attempt to facilitate access only to those Third Party Services that share our respect for your privacy, we cannot take responsibility for the content or privacy policies of those Third Party Services. We encourage you to carefully review the privacy policies of any Third Party Services you access.

What Information Do We Collect?

The information we gather enables us to personalize, improve and continue to operate the Services. We collect the following types of information from our users.

IP Address Information and Other Information Collected Automatically:

· We automatically receive and record information from your web browser when you interact with the Services, including your IP address and cookie information. This information is used for fighting spam/malware and also to facilitate collection of data concerning your interaction with the Services (e.g., what links you have clicked on).

· Generally, the Services automatically collect usage information, such as the number and frequency of visitors to the Site. We may use this data in aggregate form, that is, as a statistical measure, but not in a manner that would identify you personally. This type of aggregate data enables us and third parties authorized by us to figure out how often individuals use parts of the Services so that we can analyze and improve them.

Information Collected Using Cookies:

· Cookies are pieces of text that may be provided to your computer through your web browser when you access a website. Your browser stores cookies in a manner associated with each website you visit. We use cookies to enable our servers to recognize your web browser and tell us how and when you visit the Site and otherwise use the Services through the Internet.

· Our cookies do not, by themselves, contain Personal Information, and we do not combine the general information collected through cookies with other Personal Information to tell us who you are. As noted, however, we do use cookies to identify that your web browser has accessed aspects of the Services.

· Most browsers have an option for turning off the cookie feature, which will prevent your browser from accepting new cookies, as well as (depending on the sophistication of your browser software) allowing you to decide on acceptance of each new cookie in a variety of ways.

· This Privacy Policy covers our use of cookies only and does not cover the use of cookies by third parties. We do not control when or how third parties place cookies on your computer. For example, third party websites to which a link points may set cookies on your computer.

Aggregate Information:

We collect statistical information about how users collectively use the Services (“Aggregate Information”). Some of this information may be derived from Personal Information. This statistical information is not Personal Information and cannot be tied back to you or your web browser.

How, and With Whom, Is My Information Shared?

IP Address Information:

While we collect and store IP address information, that information is not made public. We do at times, however, share this information with our partners, service providers and other persons with whom we conduct business, and as otherwise specified in this Privacy Policy.

Information You Elect to Share:

You may access other Third Party Services through the Services, for example by clicking on links to those Third Party Services from within the Site. We are not responsible for the privacy policies and/or practices of these Third Party Services, and you are responsible for reading and understanding those Third Party Services’ privacy policies. This Privacy Policy only governs information collected on the Services.

Aggregate Information:

We share Aggregate Information with our partners, service providers and other persons with whom we conduct business. We share this type of statistical data so that our partners can understand how and how often people use our Services and their services or websites, which facilitates improving both their services and how our Services interface with them. In addition, these third parties may share with us non-private, aggregated or otherwise non Personal Information about you that they have independently developed or acquired.

Information Shared with Our Agents:

We employ and contract with people and other entities that perform certain tasks on our behalf and who are under our control (our “Agents”). We may need to share Personal Information with our Agents in order to provide products or services to you. Unless we tell you differently, our Agents do not have any right to use Personal Information or other information we share with them beyond what is necessary to assist us. You hereby consent to our sharing of Personal Information with our Agents.

Information Disclosed Pursuant to Business Transfers:

In some cases, we may choose to buy or sell assets. In these types of transactions, user information is typically one of the transferred business assets. Moreover, if we, or substantially all of our assets, were acquired, or if we go out of business or enter bankruptcy, user information would be one of the assets that is transferred or acquired by a third party. You acknowledge that such transfers may occur, and that any acquirer of us or our assets may continue to use your Personal Information as set forth in this policy.

Information Disclosed for Our Protection and the Protection of Others:

We also reserve the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as we reasonably believe is necessary to (i) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request, (ii) enforce this Privacy Policy and our Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations hereof, (iii) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues, (iv) respond to user support requests, or (v) protect our rights, property or safety, our users and the public. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organizations for fraud protection and spam/malware prevention.

Information We Share With Your Consent:

Except as set forth above, you will be notified when your Personal Information may be shared with third parties, and will be able to prevent the sharing of this information.

Is Information About Me Secure?

We store all of our information, including your IP address information, using industry-standard techniques. We do not guarantee or warrant that such techniques will prevent unauthorized access to information about you that we store, Personal Information or otherwise.

What Information of Mine Can I Access?

You can access and delete cookies through your web browser settings.

California Privacy Rights: Under California Civil Code sections 1798.83-1798.84, California residents are entitled to ask us for a notice identifying the categories of personal customer information which we share with our affiliates and/or third parties for marketing purposes, and providing contact information for such affiliates and/or third parties. If you are a California resident and would like a copy of this notice, please submit a written request to the following address: 12 E 49th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10017

What Happens When There Are Changes to this Privacy Policy?

We may amend this Privacy Policy from time to time. Use of information we collect now is subject to the Privacy Policy in effect at the time such information is used. If we make changes in the way we collect or use information, we will notify you by posting an announcement on the Services or sending you an email. A user is bound by any changes to the Privacy Policy when he or she uses the Services after such changes have been first posted.

What If I Have Questions or Concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns regarding privacy using the Services, please send us a detailed message to We will make every effort to resolve your concerns.

Effective Date: March 11, 2014


Gro Intelligence Terms of Service

Please read these Terms of Service (collectively with Gro Intelligence’s Privacy Policy, the “Terms of Service”) fully and carefully before using (the “Site”) and the services, features, content or applications offered by Gro Intelligence, Inc. (“we”, “us” or “our”) (together with the Site, the “Services”). These Terms of Service set forth the legally binding terms and conditions for your use of the Site and the Services.

1. Acceptance of Terms of Service.

a. By using the Services in any manner, including but not limited to visiting or browsing the Site, you agree to these Terms of Service and all other operating rules, policies and procedures that may be published from time to time on the Site by us, each of which is incorporated by reference and each of which may be updated from time to time without notice to you.

2. Content.

a. Definition. For purposes of these Terms of Service, the term “Content” includes, without limitation, information, data, text, photographs, videos, audio clips, written posts and comments, software, scripts, graphics, and interactive features generated, provided, or otherwise made available on or through the Services.

b. Notices and Restrictions. The Services may contain Content specifically provided by us or our partners and such Content is protected by copyrights, trademarks, service marks, patents, trade secrets or other proprietary rights and laws. You shall abide by and maintain all copyright notices, information, and restrictions contained in any Content accessed through the Services. Unless otherwise indicated, these Terms of Service and all Content provided by us are copyright © 2018 Gro Intelligence, Inc. All rights reserved.

c. Use License. Subject to these Terms of Service, we grant each user of the Services a worldwide, non-exclusive, non-sublicensable and non-transferable license to use (i.e., to download and display locally) Content solely for purposes of using the Services. Use, reproduction, modification, distribution or storage of any Content for other than purposes of using the Services is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from us. You shall not sell, license, rent, or otherwise use or exploit any Content for commercial use or in any way that violates any third party right.

d. Availability of Content. We do not guarantee that any Content will be made available on the Site or through the Services. We reserve the right to, but do not have any obligation to, (i) remove, edit or modify any Content in our sole discretion, at any time, without notice to you and for any reason (including, but not limited to, upon receipt of claims or allegations from third parties or authorities relating to such Content or if we are concerned that you may have violated these Terms of Service), or for no reason at all and (ii) to remove or block any Content from the Services.

3. Rules of Conduct.

a. As a condition of use, you represent, warrant and covenant not to use the Services for any purpose that is prohibited by these Terms of Service or applicable laws, rules and regulations applicable to you. You are responsible for all of your activity in connection with the Services.

b. You shall not (directly or indirectly):

i. take any action that imposes or may impose (as determined by us in our sole discretion) an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on our (or our third party providers’) infrastructure;

ii. interfere or attempt to interfere with the proper working of the Services or any activities conducted on the Services;

iii. bypass, circumvent or attempt to bypass or circumvent any measures we may use to prevent or restrict access to the Services (or other accounts, computer systems or networks connected to the Services);

iv. use manual or automated software, devices, or other processes to “crawl” or “spider” any page of the Site;

v. harvest or scrape any Content from the Services;

vi. otherwise take any action in violation of our guidelines and policies;

vii. decipher, decompile, disassemble, reverse engineer or otherwise attempt to derive any source code or underlying ideas or algorithms of any part of the Services (including without limitation any application), except to the limited extent applicable laws specifically prohibit such restriction;

viii. modify, translate, or otherwise create derivative works of any part of the Services; or

ix. copy, rent, lease, distribute, or otherwise transfer any of the rights that you receive hereunder.

c. We also reserve the right to access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as we reasonably believe is necessary to:

i. satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request;

ii. enforce these Terms of Service, including investigation of potential violations hereof;

iii. detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues;

iv. respond to user support requests; or

v. protect the rights, property or safety of us, our users and the public.

4. Third Party Services. The Services may permit you to link to other websites, services or resources on the Internet, and other websites, services or resources may contain links to the Services. When you access third party resources on the Internet, you do so at your own risk. These other resources are not under our control, and you acknowledge that we are not responsible or liable for the content, functions, accuracy, legality, appropriateness or any other aspect of such websites or resources. The inclusion of any such link does not imply our endorsement or any association between us and their operators. You further acknowledge and agree that we shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any such content, goods or services available on or through any such website or resource.

5. Termination. We may terminate your access to all or any part of the Services at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately. All provisions of these Terms of Service which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.

6. Warranty Disclaimer.

a. You release us from all liability for you having acquired or not acquired Content through the Services. We make no representations concerning any Content contained in or accessed through the Services, and we will not be responsible or liable for the accuracy, copyright compliance, or legality of material or Content contained in or accessed through the Services.



8. Governing Law and Jurisdiction. These Terms of Service shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York, including its conflicts of law rules, and the United States of America. You agree that any dispute arising from or relating to the subject matter of these Terms of Service shall be governed by the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state and Federal courts of New York County, New York.

9. Miscellaneous.

a. Modification. We reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to modify or replace any of these Terms of Service, or change, suspend, or discontinue the Services at any time. Your continued use of the Services following notification of any changes to these Terms of Service constitutes acceptance of those changes.

b. Entire Agreement and Severability. These Terms of Service are the entire agreement between you and us with respect to the Services, including use of the Site, and supersede all prior or contemporaneous communications and proposals (whether oral, written or electronic) between you and us with respect to the Services. If any provision of these Terms of Service is found to be unenforceable or invalid, that provision will be limited or eliminated to the minimum extent necessary so that these Terms of Service will otherwise remain in full force and effect and enforceable. The failure of either party to exercise in any respect any right provided for herein shall not be deemed a waiver of any further rights hereunder

c. Force Majeure. We shall not be liable for any failure to perform our obligations hereunder where such failure results from any cause beyond our reasonable control, including, without limitation, mechanical, electronic or communications failure or degradation.

d. Assignment. These Terms of Service are personal to you, and are not assignable, transferable or sublicensable by you except with our prior written consent. We may assign, transfer or delegate any of our rights and obligations hereunder without consent.

e. Agency. No agency, partnership, joint venture, or employment relationship is created as a result of these Terms of Service and neither party has any authority of any kind to bind the other in any respect.

f. Notices. Unless otherwise specified in these Term of Service, all notices under these Terms of Service will be in writing and will be deemed to have been duly given when received, if personally delivered or sent by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested; when receipt is electronically confirmed, if transmitted by facsimile or e-mail; or the day after it is sent, if sent for next day delivery by recognized overnight delivery service. Electronic notices should be sent to

g. No Waiver. Our failure to enforce any part of these Terms of Service shall not constitute a waiver of our right to later enforce that or any other part of these Terms of Service. Waiver of compliance in any particular instance does not mean that we will waive compliance in the future. In order for any waiver of compliance with these Terms of Service to be binding, we must provide you with written notice of such waiver through one of our authorized representatives.

h. Headings. The section and paragraph headings in these Terms of Service are for convenience only and shall not affect their interpretation.

Contact. You may contact us at the following address: 12 E 49th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10017.