The first scientific study on the environmental impact of avocado production in Chile was recently carried out, which derived from the need for specific information on the subject.
The study is entitled “State of the environmental art of Persea americana Mill plantations in Chile” and was developed by the Regional Water Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC by its acronym in Spanish), with the participation of the Chilean Avocado Committee.
In addition, this study is of great importance, especially considering that Chile has accumulated 13 years of continuous drought, an atypical situation that has put great pressure on agricultural production, so the efficient use of water resources is very important, especially when it concerns avocado cultivation.
This type of work allows the industry to determine if the path followed is the right one, in addition to promoting the establishment of parameters that indicate how sustainable agriculture is. It should not be forgotten that sustainability in food production is a growing trend that will be very important in the future.
The results of the study indicate that avocado production is efficient in the use of water resources, given that there is a wide technified irrigation area, which allows the approximate consumption to be 8,930 cubic meters per hectare, a data that adds to that obtained in 2013 by researchers from the Agricultural Research Institute (INIA by its Spanish acronym), where they applied the Water Footprint Network methodology to determine that the water footprint of Chilean avocado is 427 liters per kilogram.
An important point of this study is that it also concludes that fruit tree plantations, including avocado, should be reduced in the province of Petorca, which has been the most affected by the drought. This, to avoid greater pressure on the water resource, although between 2013 and 2020 the agricultural area went from 14,000 to 4,000 hectares, precisely because of the water shortage.
In conclusion, this type of studies allows obtaining relevant information on the environmental impact of agricultural crops, therefore they should be carried out more frequently, as well as extending them to more crops.