The Dark Side Of The Avocado Industry

By Kirsty 6 months ago

The Avocado: How Did It Get So Popular?

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There isn't a person in this world who doesn't know what an avocado is - and if you're a millennial, it's likely this fruit is a staple for your 'avocado on toast' daily breakfast. But how did the avocado become the celebrity of fruit, with everyone wanting a slice?

The Avocado Has Always Been There: Now It's Just More Trendy

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The avocado is a fruit that of course has been eaten for thousands of years - but in recent years, people in their 20s and 30s specifically seem to have taken this fruit as their life and social media mascot, meaning it hugely became a trend, a fad and a must-eat for everyone.

There's Actually An Injury Called 'The Avocado Hand'

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With great avocado power comes great avocado-cutting responsibility - and many people don't manage it. The rise in this fruit has also meant an alarming rise in injuries relating to just trying to cut the things! For one plastic surgery company, they'd treated so many injuries relating to avocado-cutting they'd named it 'avocado hand'.

Avocados Could Be The Reason Millennials Can't Afford Houses

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Well, obviously there are a bunch of other reasons such as, you know, the housing market being ridiculously expensive and the cost of living hitting the roof. But apparently 'frivolities' like eating avocado and toast for breakfast - and paying the huge price tag for it - mean that people have less spare money to, you know.. invest in property.

It's Just Too Easy To Post Avocado Snaps

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Another demand on avocados has been because they're just so easy to serve up on your Instagram feed as well as on a plate. With the huge rise in 'foodie' posts with everyone taking a photo of everything they're eating, avocado has also become a must-have in terms of follower count.

Avocado's Instagramability Means A Higher Demand

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And, of course, their success on a social media feed means they're more in-demand for people to pay for and order so that they can post a snap. And, as with anything, a higher demand on a particular food product means that there's more pressure and stress trying to feed the masses.

This Obsession With Avocado Has Meant HUGE Pressure On Farmers

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But it's not just the stress on restaurants, cafes or grocery stores that's the issue - think of the pressure on the poor farmers who need to grow enough avocados to begin with! It's become nearly impossible very quickly for farmers to easily meet the demand in the avocado industry.

This Means - Of Course - Prices Go Up!

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And, of course, the more demand means the more the prices go up. Not only do farmers need to charge more for such an unprecedented demand, but restaurants and cafes also need to charge more to fulfil that - and also because they know, due to the popularity, people will pay more!

More Demand Means More Jobs - But It Also Means Exploitation

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A tragic fact about industries like the avocado industry is that, on a positive note, it can create more jobs and more opportunities - but with that comes the risk of exploitation in certain countries and within the farms producing this fruit that has such a high demand.

There Are Even Rumors Of Mexican Cartels Trying To Control Export

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One example of a dangerous case of exploitation is the rumors that Mexican cartels have even jumped on the demand of avocados, exploiting farmers and taking a generous cut of the trade. The rumors began in 2013, and because avocados are still popular, it's safe to guess the cartel involvement is still a problem.

Some Avocado Farm Employees Therefore Get Extremely Low Pay

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It's no surprise then - and a tragic fact - that landowners in these parts using their land for avocado farming are then forced to pay their own farmers very, very low wages instead of the fair pay they're entitled to. This is so they have enough money left to pay the cartels or criminals.

It Was Said The Knights Templar Gang Was Making Millions From Avocado Farmers

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It was said that the Knights Templar cartel, a Mexican crime gang, was taking advantage of avocado farmers - and that's putting it lightly. Apparently they made $152 million a year just by extorting avocado farmers in the Michoacan state of Mexico, leading to violence.

Avocados Are Now Known As 'Blood Diamonds Of Mexico'

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Because of the danger and violence surrounding avocado farmers in Mexico, the fruit is now even known as the 'blood diamond' of Mexico, as a result of the demand and the violence between gangs and farmers. This fruit is causing some serious risks in certain countries!

Some Farmers Have Even Turned Vigilante To Defend Themselves

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These farmers working tirelessly to grow and farm for the demand of avocados have even had to turn themselves into vigilante groups just to try and defend themselves against the violence surrounding the extortion of this fruit, and the threats of gangs and Mexican cartel groups.

So If You're Buying Mexican Avocados, There's A Chance You're Paying Criminals

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Obviously you don't mean to do this, you don't want to do this, but it's a risk factor. As mentioned, with rumors of cartels and criminals taking a cut of the flourishing avocado industry in Mexico, there's always a chance that if you're buying Mexican avocados specifically, you might be giving them profits.

Avocado Production Is Also Linked To Illegal Deforestation

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In the same state of Michoacan, Mexico, avocado production has also been connected to a high amount of illegal deforestation in this region. Apparently in recent years, Mexican authorities have claimed that this avocado production is responsible for around 30%-40% of forest converted to farming land.

Of Course, All Avocados Don't Come From Mexico

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This is just one example of how some avocado farming - in this case, Mexico - has been negatively impacting by dangerous goings on. But some avocados are of course farmed and shipped from other countries like Spain, Chile and Peru - with no links to Mexican cartels.

The Avocado Market Uses A HUGE Amount Of Water

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With so much focus put on global warming and the need to preserve natural resources these days, it's also worth noting that the avocado market puts enormous pressure on water consumption. Apparently the water intake for the UK avocado market, for example, is suggested to be 10,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

This Makes Countries Facing Drought Even Worse

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Many countries which supply avocados and are part of the avocado market, like South Africa and Israel, then have to be faced with the fact that avocado consumption is using a lot of water in places that are already facing serious droughts and water shortages.

The Water Required For Avocados Can Be More Than Citrus Fruits

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You might think that it's nothing new to have demand like this to supply citrus fruits, so why are avocados getting all the bad rap? But it's actually the case that a tonne of avocados, for example, can result in more water consumption than a tonne of citrus fruits would.

Some Avocado Plantations Have Allegedly Installed Illegal Water Pipes

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To make matters worse, in some countries like Chile, it's been claimed that avocado plantations have been installing pipes illegally to divert water from rivers and wells to use in their fruit industry - which would obviously worsen the case of drought in that area.

This Leaves The Villagers To Cope Without Water, Too

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Of course it's not just the issue of drought on the actual land that's the problem here - it's the villagers who have to deal with it, too. If avocado plantations are trying to illegally divert water, then it means the nearby villagers are left struggling without it in their wells or rivers.

Avocado Is Prime Example Of Food Good For People, But Not The Planet

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More and more focus is being put on food and diets that are good for the planet to help against global warming - and of course avocados are nothing compared to the impact of things like the meat industry - but they're certainly a prime example of a food that's healthy for you, but has a more negative impact on the planet.

Celebs Have Jumped On The Avocado Train - Which Makes It Worse

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As we all know, if a celebrity is plugging a product or a certain food stuff, it's more likely that consumers are going to pick up on that and want a slice of the action - in this case, it's a huge slice of avocado. With celebs like Kim K swearing by avocado face masks, for example, it's only going to put more pressure on the demand of this fruit.

Avocados Just Aren't Eco-Friendly

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It's a negative reality that you simply can't call avocados an eco-friendly fruit - and because they're so popular, that's a bad thing that they're not helping the planet in being produced. They're obviously not the only fruit with risks to the planet, but because of their VIP super-stardom, it's an issue.

They Aren't A Sustainable Food Choice

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The production of avocados just isn't sustainable for the planet. This is because they're grown as 'monoculture', which means the same plot of land is used again and again to grow them - and that results in the soil having less and less nutrients as time goes by, as well as the risk of it becoming diseased.

The Soil Disease Means More Pesticides Needed

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To tackle against this lack of nutrients and potential growth in disease, this only leads to more and more pesticides and fertilizers being used to maintain the plantation soil - which of course can be more damaging to the environment and risk contaminating the soil.

And This Can Also Be A Danger To Local Biodiversity

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This means that any kind of life living close to these avocado plantations, soils and pesticides is at risk - and this includes human lives. The contamination that the soil is at risk of from the pesticides and fertilizers is also a risk to other organisms which could become contaminated, too!

Avocado Production Is Also Helping Global Warming

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Yep, there's this to consider too - and it's no surprise based on everything we've said here. The reason that the avocado industry is contributing to global warming and climate change is because of the deforestation efforts where old trees and shrubs are taken down so that avocado trees can have a better source of natural light!

You Could Actually Be Eating TOO MUCH Avocado!

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There's no denying there are many health benefits to eating avocado - but they also have a health downside if you eat too many of them. It's a classic case of too much of a good thing! Avocados are high in fat and high in calories, which means eating too many of them isn't going to be good news.

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