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Jalisco and Michoacán increase avocado exports for Cinco de Mayo

With just days until Cinco de Mayo, avocado growers in the central states of Michoacán and Jalisco are preparing to supply the United States with all the avocados possible.

Mexico is the largest exporter of avocados to the US and May 5 is one of the peak sales days, along with Super Bowl Sunday.

Data shows that people in the U.S. will consume about 130,000 tons of avocados during parties and other Cinco de Mayo celebrations this Sunday — close to the 138,000 tons expected to be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday in February, according to several media reports.

Leading up to May 5, shipments of avocados to the US from Michoacán and Jalisco have increased substantially, by between 24,000 and 32,000 tons: 95.8% of which is the fruit itself, 2.9% is guacamole and 1.3% is avocado pulp.

Cinco de Mayo, a holiday without borders

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla, when the Mexican army won a rare victory over the French on May 5, 1862. At that time, France began a quest to establish an empire in Mexico, and although the French won most other battles, financial difficulties and pressure from the US led them to withdraw in 1867.

Although it represents “one of the most glorious episodes in our history,” Cinco de Mayo does not guarantee a day off or a long weekend for workers in Mexico, according to the Ministry of Public Education (SEP). It is an annual holiday at SEP schools, which are closed on Mondays this year.

Battle of PueblaBattle of Puebla
A famous mural by José Clemente Orozco pays tribute to Benito Juárez and the Mexican troops’ victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. (File photo)

The main celebrations of Cinco de Mayo in Mexico take place in schools, where children receive lessons about the battle and participate in activities surrounding it.

In the United States, however, the holiday is a festive occasion, and almost every celebration not only involves drinking a lot of beer, but also guacamole and/or avocados: on tacos, burritos and tostadas, in pico de gallo and other salsas, and as a garnish with various meat dishes. For many, it is also a celebration of Mexican-American heritage.

This translates into significant opportunities for Mexico and its 52,000 export-certified avocado orchards across the country.

Jalisco’s increasing avocado exports

Eleazar Oceguera Aguayo, president of the Association of Avocado Producers and Packers of Jalisco (Apeajal), said that with a 5% increase in that state’s harvest this year, Jalisco’s 1,108 certified orchards will produce 450,000 tons of the “green gold” can produce. this year.

Apeajal also aims to continue opening markets such as China, India, South Korea and Chile.

Michoacán remains the national leader in avocado production, contributing over 81% of the country’s total harvest.

Despite a 10.5% drop in production between January and March this year compared to the first quarter of 2023, Michoacán still boasted a significant harvest of 480,944 tonnes in that three-month period. Jalisco reported a harvest of 96,370 tons in the same quarter.

An advertisement for Jalisco avocadosAn advertisement for Jalisco avocados
Jalisco, which started exporting avocados to the US just two years ago, saw a 5% export growth this year. (Apeajal/Facebook)

Oceguera said that for this year’s Super Bowl on February 11, Jalisco sent more than 15,000 tons of avocados to the United States, while Michoacán and the State of Mexico supplied the rest of the 138,000 tons.

While production is robust, challenges remain. Environmental sustainability and worker rights are ongoing concerns within the industry. Michoacán is said to strive for fair treatment of its estimated 75,000 farm workers, and also tries to implement sustainable practices, although hotter and drier climate conditions have led to a lack of water in many growing areas.

With reports from Milenio, La Voz de Michoacan And El Financiero