Dialogue and not politics saved the US avocado market

Last week, the US market for Michoacan avocados, valued at 2.8 billion dollars, was at risk of being lost, and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador apparently did not know what was happening.

On Saturday, February 12, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) banned the entry of Hass avocados from Michoacán after one of its inspectors from its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), based in Uruapan, received a threat on your cell phone. Agreements between both countries allow APHIS inspectors to be in various Mexican cities to verify that animal and vegetable products that are exported to the US do not suffer from any disease or pest that puts the health of consumers at risk or infects similar crops.

On Monday the 14th, when questioned about the matter during his morning press conference, AMLO politicized the matter and ignored the reason given by the USDA, either because he did not want to recognize one more case of insecurity in the country or because he did not He was informed of the reasons for the ban.

The answer given by the president was:

“… we have to review what it is about. In all of this there are also many economic and political interests, there is competition, they do not want the Mexican avocado to enter the United States or to prevail due to its quality in the United States, there are other countries interested in selling the avocado. And so it happens in other cases, vegetables. So, they lobby, that is, they look for senators, they look for public officials, agencies, to be putting up obstacles. If it is not for this, it is for the vaquita marina, for the dolphins, but in reality there is always an economic, commercial interest or a political attitude behind it.”

For him it was not a threat against the US inspector, but a plot hatched by other avocado producers.

Fortunately, the problem was resolved and at the presidential conference last Friday, the Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López Hernández, announced that “there is already a proposal so that avocado exports can be regularized, normalized and today a resolution must be issued (…) We hope that starting next week the export process can be resumed on a daily basis. It is basically a matter of reviewing the regulation, there are security measures that had been agreed upon between the state government, the federal government and the authorities in charge of inspecting avocado for export, and these mechanisms are going to be reinforced.”

On the same Friday, APHIS announced that “its avocado inspection program in Michoacán has restarted and avocado exports to the United States have resumed. APHIS, in close collaboration with the Regional Security Officer of the US Embassy in Mexico, the Mexican national plant protection organization (SENASICA), and the Association of Exporting Producers and Packers of Avocados of Mexico (APEAM), have enacted measures additions that enhance the safety of APHIS inspectors working in the field, following a threat made to an employee on February 11.”

Dialogue and not politicking saved a market that from 1914 to 1997 was closed to Mexican avocados.

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Eduardo Ruiz-Healy

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Opinionist, columnist, lecturer, media trainer, 35 years of experience in the media, microentrepreneur.

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