A Mexican labor dispute that broke out in late October has had U.S. avocado importers anxious, but the issue was resolved November 14th.
What Mexican growers consider low prices for their avocados was at the core of the dispute. As a result growers had installed checkpoints on all major roads in the Michoacan growing region, preventing picking crews and field trucks from entering the groves, according to the Avocado Producers and Exporting Packers Association of Michoacán (APEAM).
In the U.S., importers were becoming concerned as inventories were quickly declining. Calavo Growers Inc. of Santa Paula, CA was airing concerns of running of avocado supplies soon.
APEAM said its executives were working to resolve the issue through meetings and conversations with police agencies, the federal government and growers. The association expressed confidence these actions would soon lead to avocado shipments returning to normal.
Avocado prices began falling last August in anticipation of a bigger crop. In fact, by mid-October f.o.b. prices of a box of avocados were $12 lower than a year earlier.
Calavo estimated that the U.S. imported 1.9 million pounds of Mexican avocados from July 2017 through June 2018, and he that number was expected to be up to 2.1 million pounds for the current crop year.
McDaniel Fruit Co. of Fallbrook, CA was ware of Mexican grower disappointment in prices, but felt the lower prices were only temporary and the avocado market would rebound. Meanwhile, the quality of the Mexican avocado crop was looking very good.
Index Fresh Inc. of Riverside, CA was pointing out Mexico is expecting a slightly larger crop for the first time in five years.
Avocado supplies in the U.S. have been low due to the labor strife, although the average consumer probably didn’t notice it. Importers report it will be weeks before supplies return to normal, plus a lot of avocado supplies will not be ripe in time for Thanksgiving.