Sunday, August 22, 2021

Avocado crime soars - 'Green Gold'

Avocado growers in Mexico are guarding against cartels eager to cash in on 'green gold.'
Rising exports make Mexico the world’s largest producer. It's a growing industry, with sales to the US bringing in $2b last year.
The rise in avocado-related crime has turned some growing areas into no-go zones, even for cops.
Mexico produced 1.09m tonnes in 2018-19, up nearly 4% from the 1.05m produced in 2017-18. Exports last season rose 5.4%. A sharp fall in the price of Mexican opium paste has forced cartels to seek new revenues. Michoacán state, which grows avocados, has identified nine cartels operating there. Hijacking truckloads of fruit exploded as did extortion of growers.
Locals say government response to rising cartel threats and violence has been minimal, if not nonexistant.

“It’s cheaper to buy a gun than to pay them a fee."
'Pueblos Unidos' or 'United Towns' was created about a year ago in San José de Chuén, Michoacán, to protect the community and avocado production. The group now has upwards of 5,000 armed members, supported by producers. The group’s strategy seems to be working. They no longer suffer theft, crime, or persecution as the cartels seek greener pastures without resistance elsewhere.