The avocado has become, in recent years, one of the most used foods in gastronomy . On toast, in smoothies, in salads, in appetizers, in sauces or even raw, any culinary use one can think of has been tried with avocado.
One of the main reasons for this avocado boom has come from the hand of numerous studies that have brought the innumerable properties of this product to the forefront . It is a food rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, magnesium, potassium, vitamins C, E and B6. In addition, various food entities have confirmed its effectiveness in reducing cholesterol levels. It almost seems like a magical food, however, recently the footprint that the excessive production of avocados is leaving on the planet is being valued.
Malpractice of exporting countries
The data speaks for itself, and it is that, in recent years, the cultivation and import of this superfood has skyrocketed. For example, the United States, one of the largest importers of avocados, has gone from 345 million kg in 2010 to 928 million in 2017 . Mexico , which seems to be the main exporting country, invoiced 896.5 million tons of avocado exported in 2017 .
The problem is that to grow a kilo of avocados, 2,000 liters of water are needed. This enormous amount of water is four times more than what is needed to produce a kilo of oranges and ten times more than what is needed to grow a kilo of tomatoes.
This means that the avocado producing countries are facing serious environmental problems , mainly due to the fact that the large amount of water they need for the production of the product is being subtracted from that consumed by animals and inhabitants. Furthermore, in the case of Mexico, as the newspaper La Vanguardia stated, “many farmers have come to burn large areas of forest to convert to avocado monoculture . “
This situation has been investigated by the British newspaper The Guardian, which has published how in the province of Petorca, in Chile, “many avocado plantations install pipes and illegal wells with the aim of diverting water from rivers to irrigate their crops” . The result, as expected, has ended up drying up the rivers and has caused a considerable drop in groundwater levels, which has plunged the region into a ” deep regional drought .”
What possible solutions are there
The question is that, as it is a product that has ended up becoming the economic engine of certain areas , it will be the power of the superior bodies to stop this excessive abuse of natural resources.
All the ordinary consumer can do is, when they go to buy avocados at greengrocers or supermarkets, pay attention to the label to know where they come from , as well as if the product has obtained social sustainability certifications, environmental or economic .