The US threatens to suspend certification of Mexican avocado because of violence in Michoacán

The alert of the US Department of Agriculture is against an industry that exports 2.5 billion dollars a year

The violence that hits the Mexican State of Michoacán threatens to affect one of Mexico’s main export products: avocado. The United States Department of Agriculture warned to the producers of the country that will suspend the certification of the fruit – a primary requirement for export to the United States – if no measures are taken to guarantee the safety of its health personnel operating in the producing farms of the region, where criminal groups such as the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) dispute one of the most violent areas of the North American country. “It is essential that proactive measures are taken to avoid future incidents,” said Marie Martin, director of the Mexico Pre-Authorization Area of ​​the Department of Agriculture, in a statement sent to the Association of Mexican Avocado Producers (APEAM).

The alert comes after several incidents that have affected US personnel working in the region. The principal was registered on August 16, when officials from the US Animal and Plant Inspection Service were intercepted, threatened and his vehicle stolen after suspending the activities of an orchard located in the municipality of Ziracuaretiro. The work of this agency in Mexico ensures that all sanitary requirements for the entry of the fruit into US territory are met. “We are grateful that our team has not suffered physical damage,” Martin writes in his letter to avocado growers. “The safety of personnel performing official tasks remains our top priority and we believe that this is necessary to preserve integration. of the [certification] program, ”he says in the statement.

Mexican avocado producers expect to export more than 1.4 million tons to the US this year, an increase of 5.2% compared to 2018 when 914,530 tons were shipped. Michoacán is the world’s first producer of this fruit and the only Mexican state that has permits to sell it to its northern neighbor. Last year’s exports exceeded 2,500 million dollars, an amount that exceeds oil sales, which were 1,180 million dollars. In that State, avocado is known as the “green gold” and is the second agricultural product that reports the most export earnings to the Mexican economy, only surpassed by tomatoes. The US accounts for 80% of exports of that product, so the alert launched by that country is a serious threat to producers gathered in APEAM, about 28,000.

“For future situations that result in a security breach, or demonstrate an imminent and physical threat to the welfare of personnel, we will immediately suspend the activities of the [certification] program until the State Department determines that corrective action was taken. and appropriate and that the required security measures have been implemented ”, warns the official Martin, who also calls on APEAM executives to guarantee the safety of US officials who perform avocado certification activities in Michoacán, where 58 certifiers of the Department of Agriculture operate.

The violence bleeds the State of Michoacán, located just three hours drive west of Mexico City. In that region, criminal groups dispute one of the richest territories in the country. The CJNG is one of the criminal organizations that operate in the region, and currently maintains a bloody fight for control of some municipalities with armed self-defense groups. The extortion, kidnapping and threats to rancheros They have become commonplace in spite of the efforts of the Mexican security forces. Within that hell, the fruit that is tasted on the tables of the Americans thrives, or converted into tons of guacamole during the Superbowl – the end of the National Football League – a valuable export product that could be a victim more than the horror that leaves 100 dead a day in Mexico.

Source: el pais

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