As anyone who enjoys hosting knows all too well, no social event is complete without a generous serving of guac. Expecting guests to spend their evening nursing dry tortilla chips is a surefire way to guarantee that no one turns up to your next birthday. However, thanks to growing crisis in Mexico, the world’s largest avocado producer, this nightmare could soon become a reality.
The New York Post reports that the situation has arisen as a direct result of Mexican government policy. As part of an initiative designed to reduce an ongoing problem with fuel theft, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has attempted to shift fuel transportation away from vulnerable pipelines by using tankers and trains as a replacement. An unexpected side effect has seen petrol stations across the country unable to satisfy local demand in hard to reach places and thousands of businesses grind to a halt. Avocado producers have been among the worst affected.
Farmers have found themselves unable to export much of their produce as a direct result of the shortage. The issue is particularly relevant at this time of year, as producers are under extra pressure due to the Super Bowl at the start of February, with American consumers more eager than ever to fill their dip bowls with guacamole.
One of the Mexican states at the centre of the crisis is the Western territory of Michoacan, the country’s largest avocado producer. Estimates suggest that growers there were hoping to export around 120,000 tonnes of fruit to America this year, specifically for the Super Bowl - around 20,000 more than last year. The current situation is placing that target in serious jeopardy.
Speaking to The New York Post, APEAM spokesman Ramon Paz said that, “Our three most important weeks of the year are this one and the next two. This is when we ship for Super Bowl week,” adding, “We have from now to January 24, 25 to ship all that volume. If we don’t ship it (by then), we can’t do so later.”
Before the current crisis took hold, experts estimate that around 27,000 tonnes of avocados had already left the country in preparation for the defining event of the American football calendar. Given that fans are estimated to get through a whopping 250 million avocados on game night, any prospect of a shortage is a major threat to everyone’s evening, wherever you may be watching.
For now, officials claim that the crisis is not affecting US exports. But with the number of Mexican workers unable to do their jobs increasing day by day, the chances of the problem escalating seem pretty high. If American customers want to continue to have ready access to all the guac they could ever eat, it looks as though they are going to have to keep their fingers crossed as the big game approaches.