Demand For Avocados Is So Strong That Mexican Farmers Are Cutting Down Forests To Keep Up

credit: eliinsch / flickr

They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but avocado farmers in Mexico are learning that if they tear down a forest, they can make upwards of $500,000 a year. According to a report by the Associated Press, the popularity of avocados in the United States has led to increased demand in avocados from Mexico, where avocados are more likely to grow year-round. Unfortunately, because avocados are more profitable than other crops, farmers have begun illegally tearing down surrounding pine forests to make room for their avocado trees.

Defo
Credit: CNN / YouTube

The avocado business is booming so much — bringing in more than a billion dollars a year in total — that drug cartels have gotten involved. It’s estimated that the Knights Templar Cartel brings in upwards of $150 million each year on avocados alone. A cartel’s involvement with farmers is pretty straight forward: Farmers are “encouraged” to pay cartels some tax per pound of avocados they grow. If the farmers refuse, they can expect retaliation, resulting in loss of land or even death.

Avocado-related deforestation isn’t the only problem that can affect the ecosystem. Avocado trees can pull twice as much water as a naturally occurring forest, which means that the local ecosystem, from plants to animals, is adversely affected by farmers who depend on the thirsty crop. Not to mention that previously untouched forests are now grounds for chemical dumping and other avocado industry-related issues.

Avocados aren’t the first crop to cause this kind of disturbance among Central and South American farmers. Peru’s quinoa has nearly tripled in price over the last few years, making it too expensive for many of its poorest citizens.

Meanwhile in the U.S., people will gladly shell out more for a pound of quinoa than they do for a gallon of gasoline.

Let’s hope alpaca hamburgers never catch on, otherwise it might not be long before we see this at Burger King.

Alpaca Burgers

I hope you like your burger rare, because that’s what alpaca will be if the brunch crowd catches on.

If there is a finger to point in this, I’d blame avocado porn, which, depending on your browser’s filter settings, is totally safe for work.

Seriously, anyone who posts photos like these on social media deserves to be locked up.

If they served this at any important global political meeting we'd probably reach world peace a whole lot sooner. #helpingoftheday

A photo posted by HELPINGS • #Health (@thisishelpings) on

Credit: Thisishelpings / Instagram

It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the problems facing Mexico’s forests and farmers when photos like these constantly pop up on social media.

Read: Everything About This Burger Sounds Perfect, But It Just Doesn’t Make Sense

 

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