FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2016 file photo, an avocado vendor talks on his cellphone at a market in Mexico City. Summary: The potential Trump tariffs are expected to hit U.S. avocado lovers more than Mexican producers. (AP Photo/Nick Wagner, File)

Mexican avocado growers expect US consumers to bear tariffs

A weakening peso will shield U.S. consumers from higher avocado prices in the near-term

The baby avocados in Enrique Bautista’s vast orchard in western Mexico will grow to maturity, eventually, and be shipped out of Mexico.

What remains to be seen is how many of those green gems will reach consumers in the United States if President Donald Trump makes good on his promise to slap duties on Mexican exports should the country fail to stem the tide of immigrants trying to reach the U.S.

The potential Trump tariffs would hit U.S. avocado lovers more than Mexican producers, Bautista said. Demand north of the border for Mexican avocados has proven very static: even when prices expand four-fold during the year, the fruit is still scooped up by U.S. devotees of avocado toast and guacamole.

Producers in Mexico believe a 5% — or even 25% — U.S. tariff on avocados will do little to dampen their sales.

“I think the bigger risk is for U.S. consumers” having to pay higher prices, said Bautista, 69, a second-generation avocado grower whose father was an early exporter of the fruit that has become a staple in the diets of millions of Americans.

The popularity of avocados has won the spreadable fruit the nickname “green gold” in Mexico, the world’s top producer.

The U.S. is the top export market for Mexican avocados, according to USDA data, consuming more than 74% of total exports. Japan absorbs at least 6% and Canada another 7% of the Mexican crop.

“Fortunately, the avocado is a fruit that’s in demand more every day around the world, that’s consumed in many other countries,” said Bautista, who gave The Associated Press a tour of his orchard in Uruapan in Michoacan state on Saturday. His avocados are shipped entirely to the U.S.

Mexican orchards yield 11 avocados for every one picked in California. Mexico also produces year-round, versus California’s usual eight-month season.

Production in California typically covers U.S. demand for avocados this time of year. But the 2019 crop in California was weak, with some growers reporting total failures due to record high temperatures last summer that destroyed much of the young fruit before maturity.

The California avocado season also started late, so Mexican producers have shipped much of their produce north since April in what is considered low season for Mexican avocados.

“We are living in a sellers’ market,” said Humberto Solorzano, a third-generation avocado producer also in Michoacan, where 80% of Mexican avocados are grown.

A weakening peso will shield U.S. consumers from higher avocado prices in the near-term, Solorzano figured, but eventually the cost of any tariffs would be absorbed throughout the supply chain, landing mostly on U.S. consumers. The peso plunged more than 3% against the dollar on Friday in the wake of Trump’s tweet promising tariffs on all Mexican goods.

On Friday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador dispatched his foreign secretary to Washington to try to negotiate a truce and point out what Mexico has done to stem the flow of migrants. It has stepped up raids on migrant caravans travelling through the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca this year. It has deported thousands of migrants and frustrated thousands more who wait endlessly for permits that would allow them to travel legally through Mexico.

Trump’s tariff threat has also received pushback from U.S. businesses that rely on Mexican production.

READ MORE: Trump ‘deadly serious” about Mexico tariffs, says White House

Solorzano said exporters are looking for assurance despite the avocado’s privileged status as a “super-food.”

Frustrated by wild swings in Mexican avocado prices, Solorzano launched a mobile application in September that allows producers to share price information. AvoPrice already has 700 users, between packers and producers.

Producers here say the latest Trump missive has rattled the avocado market less than the president’s April threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border entirely — also because of record numbers of migrants, especially from Central America.

Then, Solorzano recalls, U.S. importers tried to stockpile avocados.

The U.S. consumer needs Mexican avocados, he said: “They don’t have another supply option.”

ALSO READ: Canadian retaliatory tariffs lifted as U.S. kills steel aluminum penalties

Arturo Perez And Amy Guthrie, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Castor hosts first in region ‘Music in the Park’

Around 100 Castor residents came to enjoy music and fellowship at the event

Changes coming to this year’s Big Valley Jamboree

Camrose’s popular country music festival ‘enhances guest experience’

Pig Roast and the dance was held June 22nd

Castor Rodeo, which was postponed due to weather, will proceeed on July 11th and 12th

Stettler County continues to work with Paradise Shores developers

The County issued a Stop Order for the site in May

Local woman recalls potentially deadly injury from mowing the lawn

Shannon McTavish underwent extensive surgery after metal piece lodged in her neck

VIDEO: Tributes flow on 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

Jackson received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. He died at age 50

Accused mother cries at Alberta trial over boy who died of meningitis

Parents charged with failing to provide necessaries of life for their son who died in 2012

Ponoka County receives update from energy lobby group

CAPP hopes to work with municipalities on property tax issues

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

Late night fight in Wetaskiwin results in aggravated assault, assault with a weapon charges

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate armed robbery and aggravated assault

Maskwacis featured in documentary series that unearths Indigenous cuisine

Red Chef Revival’s host visits community, elders and Nipisihkopahk School

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Fighter Jets light up Bucs’ to take AFL first place

38-3 loss puts Central Alberta into second place in the AFL

Most Read