Mangos and avocados
Mangos and avocados Via Pexels

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has temporarily halted new exports of mangos and avocados from Michoacán, Mexico due to an incident that raised safety concerns for its inspectors in the area.

While the USDA did not specify the exact nature of the security threats, Reuters reported that the suspension was linked to a protest in support of local police in the municipality of Paracho.

A USDA spokesperson announced that the inspection program will remain suspended until the safety of its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspectors in Mexico can be ensured. The spokesperson did point out that avocados and mangos already in transit from would not be affected but further inspections were suspended "until further notice".

Earlier this month, the USDA notified the Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico about its decision to halt new exports from the western Mexican state. The United States is Mexico's top avocado export market, with an 81 percent share valued at USD 2.7 billion in 2023.

Other major export destinations include Canada, Japan, and Spain. Outside of exports to the United States, Peru is the number one competitor for Mexico in the international market, supplying the European market with 0.63 MMT of avocados in 2022

This is the second suspension in two years, following a similar incident in February 2022 related to USDA employee safety. That issue was resolved within a week without significantly affecting the U.S. avocado supply.

In other Avocado-related news from Mexico, a recent deep dive by The Guardian took a look at the often environmentally-costly avocado industry shedding a light on an initiative by residents of Cherán and the way they are standing up against sometimes corrupt officials and cartels to protect its forests from these practices.

Thirteen years ago, the town's residents rose up against corrupt officials and a local cartel, taking decisive action to protect their native forests. Through a series of bold measures, including the expulsion of the police and local government, Cherán implemented a new state apparatus. Political parties were banned and a governing council was elected to oversee the town's affairs.

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