What does the ban and lift on avocados from Mexico mean?

The ban on avocados from Mexico was lifted Friday.
Mexican Avocados
Posted at 10:43 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 16:31:13-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The ban on avocados from Mexico was lifted Friday leaving some wondering why it was even in place.

Typically, when you head to the grocery store you don't stop to check the sticker to see where it's grown, but when it comes to imported avocados if you don’t it may just impact your wallet.

“Wednesday people started to say, ‘alright the inventories dwindled really low, and inventory went up 10%.’ Thursday there was still no news so grower prices went up another 30% so right now today grower prices are higher than they were a week ago,” said President of California Avocado Direct Ben Holtz.

Holtz did say he expects that once their inventory is back up the prices will go back to normal, but his business wasn't the only one affected by this temporary ban.

“One carton of avocados that usually costs $40 dollars had gone up to $80-$90. I remember some time back when the same thing happened, they went up to $120-$130,” said Ceci Gonzales, Co-owner of Los Reyes Market.

Gonzalez said that when bans like this happen, they are tough on business owners because they have to stay competitive and do what it takes to get the item for their customer.

For Co-owner of Wiki's Wine Dive and Grill Mike Earhart he had a different approach.

“We would have made some changes. We probably would have gone to frozen guacamole because you can get that premade, you can buy it and maybe mix in some regular avocados to expand it a little bit better.”  

Still Earhart said there’s nothing like fresh avocado so admittedly he’s glad the ban was lifted and Gonzalez also shared in that joy.

“I was relieved to be honest I don't like to see people want something and they can’t afford it or they can’t get it so I was actually really relieved,” said Gonzales.

Tony Payan, Director of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Center for the U.S. and Mexico said there are ways to prevent bans like these from happening in the future but that we cannot go for the short-term solution.

“The long-term solution however is that Mexico [has to start taking this very seriously]. The way that organized crime is growing in Mexico, conquering territories, intimidating people, extorting resources from all kinds of Mexican avocado growers. [They need to] seriously combat organized crime so that they can solve this problem once and for all.”