Mexico is the undisputed leader in avocado production and contributes to 44.9% of global exports. (p.22) A major contributor to this is the State of Michoacán in Mexico.
Michoacán avocado production contributes a lion’s share of avocado yield in the country. In fact, avocados from Michoacán represent 75.2% of the country’s avocado yields. (p. 29) The state also houses about 29,000 registered avocado producers that have year-round production in four harvests.
Indeed, Michoacán avocado is bringing Mexico in the lead in terms of avocado production and export. But how is Michoacán leading avocado production in Mexico? The Mexican state’s success in avocado production is attributable to various factors.
Sprawling Avocado Harvest Area
One of the main factors that contribute to Michoacán’s lead in Mexican avocado production is the state’s harvest area. About 166,063 hectares in total, Michoacán represents 74% of Mexico’s total avocado harvest area. (p. 29)
More specifically, of all the 598 avocado-producing municipalities in Mexico (p. 30), 10 Michoacán municipalities emerge as the top avocado producers in 2020. These are:
- Salvador Escalante
- Nuevo Parangaricutiro
- Los Reyes
These 10 municipalities in Michoacán accounted for 58.9% of total Mexican avocado production. When combined, these municipalities produce 11.1 tons per hectare, surpassing the 10.7 tons per hectare national average yield. (p. 30)
[Michoacán municipalities heat map, data from page 30]
Michoacán’s Perfect Soil and Climate
Another contributing factor to Michoacán’s avocado yield success is its perfect soil and climate.
The so-called “avocado belt” or the avocado growing area in Michoacán is located in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and the Balsas River Basin, spanning across 33 municipalities that export avocados. What makes this area perfect for avocado cultivation is its rich volcanic soil, optimum for growing avocado trees. The ashes from the volcanic area in the region makes the soil in these farm areas fertile, providing nutrients to avocado orchards in Michoacán.
Michoacán’s climate is also balanced enough to make growing avocados marginally suitable in the Mexican state. Its long dry season is perfectly complemented by its annual precipitation, especially during its warmest quarter. To date, about 63% of Michoacán’s avocado orchards depend on rain. Uruapan, one of the biggest avocado producing municipalities in Michoacán, receives about 64 inches of precipitation annually.
The mountainous topography in Michoacán also contributes to its agricultural success. In this Mexican region, avocado trees are grown at different elevations, which paves way for four overlapping seasons:
- Loca, during June to September;
- Aventajada, during August to October;
- Normal, during September to February; and,
- Marzena, during March to June.
There are about 42,000 avocado orchards in Michoacán at varying elevations.
Michoacán Leading the Avocado Exports
During the first half of 2021, 80% of Mexican avocado exports went to the US, (p. 6) and Michoacán avocado production has the lion’s share of this. It is estimated that about 85% of the total Mexican avocado exports is from Michoacán. (p.32) Moreover, by October 2021, Mexico exported 78.3% of its total export to the US, a significant volume which was from Michoacán.
Most avocado importers from the US get their hass avocados from Mexico, and Michoacán is the only Mexican state so far that has permission to export Hass avocados to the US. (p. 32)
According to the US Department of Agriculture data, as of April 4, 2022, of the 11 recorded US cities that acquired hass avocados, 8 cities – Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia, Detroit, Miami, and Philadelphia – only bought hass avocados that came from Mexico. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and San Francisco, received hass avocados domestically in California, but also sourced some of its avocado supplies from Mexico.
New York, which also receives hass avocados from Mexico, partly receives hass avocados from Chile, too.
Michoacán Overtakes Other Mexican States
Other Mexican states’ avocado production is also nowhere near Michoacán’s yields.
In 2020, 27 Mexican states contributed to the national avocado production (p. 29), which totaled to nearly 2.4 million tons. (p. 25) Michoacán avocado production for the same year totaled to about 1.8 million tons – that’s about three-fourths of the total Mexican avocado production for the year.
Michoacán is also the only Mexican state that produced over a million tons of avocados. In the same year, Jalisco, the second highest avocado producing state in Mexico, contributed 10.4% of the total yield, equivalent to about 248,193 tons of avocados, and the State of Mexico had a 4.9% share, totalling to 118,268 tons. (p. 29)
[Chart of Michoacan’s avocado yields versus other states, data from p. 29]
These numbers only go to show that Michoacán avocado production is the biggest help in Mexico’s dominance in the avocado production and export industry.
Link with Michoacán Producers through Produce Pay
Mexico seeks to increase its annual avocado production by 5.2% and to grow its global exports to 63% by 2030. (p. 32) Similarly, avocado is expected to remain the fastest growing produce among the major tropical fruits until 2030. It is something that Mexico can benefit from, and a consistent yield from Michoacán can assist with the forecasted supply and demand targets.
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