DALLAS — The Avocado Institute and its parent organizations — the Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico (APEAM) and Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association (MHAIA) — have created an educational video for consumers about the Mexican avocado industry’s commitment to sustainability.

“We need a healthy planet with lush forests and happy pollinators to continue growing the freshest avocados in the world, so it’s vital that sustainability is central to our strategy,” said Ana Ambrosi, director of corporate communications for Avocados From Mexico. “For the Avocado Institute, Earth Day is more than a one-day celebration of sustainability. It’s an annual reminder of the importance of prioritizing our environment all year long.”

The Green Agenda

The Avocado Institute highlighted three main topics the industry is focusing on that all work together to protect the environment and enhance biodiversity.

1. The Buzz on Protecting Pollinators

“Without the help of bees and other wild pollinators, avocado trees would not have the resources and support they need to grow,” the institute said. “Studies show that avocado orchards have more than a 25% increase in avocado production when domesticated and wild pollinators are present. The Mexican avocado industry knows that to meet the increased consumer demand for avocados, they must support healthy populations of pollinators in our avocado orchards — after all, 80% of the production of avocados in Mexico is due to pollinators. Their work is irreplaceable.”

In an effort to protect pollinators, 30% of avocado orchards in Michoacán have begun working with local beekeepers to set up on-site beehives, according to the Avocado Institute.

MHAIA has also partnered with Forests For Monarchs to plant more than 1.2 million trees in the Michoacán area to help monarch butterflies thrive.

2. Maintaining & Establishing Habitats Through Forest Preservation

“As avocados grow on trees, forest preservation is essential in the ongoing viability of the industry,” the institute said. “To address this, the Mexican avocado industry has a program that focuses on preserving more than 1.3 million acres of the Avocado Strip, the area in Michoacán where the avocado orchards are located. This includes working to prevent and respond to fires, creating a biological corridor and developing research aimed at the sustainable use of soil and water.”

According to the Avocado Institute, the Mexican avocado industry has planted around 2.9 million trees and reforested approximately 5,200 acres throughout Michoacán since 2011.

The industry is also working with the Michoacán government to establish regulations for avocado harvesting to avoid negatively impacting biodiversity.

3. Responsible Agricultural Stewards

The Mexican avocado industry is also looking directly at its own farming practices, considering the environmental impacts of each individual step of avocado growth.

“The Mexican Avocado industry is further minimizing its environmental footprint through initiatives like relying on rainfall and natural, seasonal irrigation for approximately 61% of the avocado orchards in Michoacán,” the institute said. “Another 36% utilize sustainable, high-tech irrigation such as drip irrigation and micro-sprinkling. Together that means up to 97% of avocado orchards in the region depend primarily on sustainable irrigation practices.”

The Avocado Institute said that orchards are also being mindful of the agrochemicals they use. Growers are choosing agrochemicals that are plant- and flower-friendly. They are also careful to only apply the agrochemicals during times bees and other pollinators are not active.