Sunday, February 2, 2020

Avocado crime soars - 'Green Gold'

Avocado growers in Mexico are guarding against criminal gangs eager to cash in on 'green gold.' Trucks set off from the avocado belt in Mexico’s western state of Michoacán for the U.S., and armed robbers are zeroing in on them. It's a fast-growing, multibillion-dollar industry. Sales to the U.S. bring in almost $2b a year.
The rise in avocado-related crime has turned growing areas into no-go zones, even for police.
Mexico produced 1.09 million tonnes in the 2018-19 season, up nearly 4 per cent from the 1.05 million produced in 2017-18. Exports last season rose 5.4 per cent.

The sharp fall in the price of Mexican opium paste has forced cartels to diversify. Opium prices in Mexico collapsed between 2017 and 2018, with the price per kilogram falling to a quarter in some key producing areas. Increasingly they have started hijacking truckloads of fruit for export. More than a dozen criminal groups are battling for control of the avocado trade in and around the city of Uruapan.