President Trump has announced that he may shut down the US-Mexico border – and it could impact avocado imports.
Aside from the potential protests that it will ignite across the country, Trump’s decision could mean American consumers may have to ration their deconstructed avocado on toast.
Half of all imported US vegetables and 40 per cent of imported fruit are grown in Mexico according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture.
Avocados could run out in less than three weeks if imports from Mexico are halted, says Steve Barnard, president and chief executive of Mission Produce, the largest distributor and grower of avocados in the world.
He said: "You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 per cent of the avocados in the US right now. California is just starting and they have a very small crop, but they’re not relevant right now and won’t be for another month or so."
This comes after Trump said there was a “very good likelihood” that he will close the border if Mexico didn’t prevent immigrants from reaching the States.
"When a border is closed or barriers to trade are put in place, I absolutely expect there would be an impact on consumers," said Monica Ganley, principal at Quarterra, a consultancy specialising in Latin American agricultural issues and trade.
We're absolutely going to see higher prices. This is a very real and very relevant concern for American consumers.
According to statistics, in 2018 Americans consumed 2.45 billion pounds of avocado, in what is a year-on-year rise. In fact, according to a marketing group called Avocados from Mexico, America received a record 71.9 million pounds of Avocado in one week last year.
Speaking to reporters at his estate in Florida last week, Trump said he would close the border – potentially disrupting legal border crossings and billions of dollars in trade – if Mexico didn’t stop immigrants from reaching the US.
He said: "There’s a very good likelihood that I’ll be closing the border next week, and that will be just fine with me."