• May 25, 2019

Avocado shortages, virgin margaritas: Border shutdown would hit American palates


NEW YORK (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s menace to close down the U.S.-Mexico border would hit American shoppers – within the intestine.

Avocados are pictured at a retailer in Mexico Metropolis, Mexico, February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

From the avocados on avocado toast, to the limes and tequila in margaritas, the USA is closely reliant on Mexican imports of fruit, greens and alcohol to satisfy shopper demand. Almost half of all imported U.S. greens and 40 % of imported fruit are grown in Mexico, based on the most recent information from the USA Division of Agriculture.

People would run out of avocados in three weeks if imports from Mexico have been stopped, mentioned Steve Barnard, president and chief government of Mission Produce, the most important distributor and grower of avocados on the planet.

“You couldn’t choose a worse time of yr as a result of Mexico provides nearly 100 % of the avocados within the U.S. proper now. California is simply beginning and so they have a really small crop, however they’re not related proper now and gained’t be for one more month or so,” mentioned Barnard.

Trump mentioned on Friday that there was a “superb chance” he would shut the border this week if Mexico didn’t cease immigrants from reaching the USA. A whole shutdown would disrupt tens of millions of authorized border crossings along with asylum seekers, in addition to billions of in commerce, about $137 billion of which is in meals imports.

“When a border is closed or obstacles to commerce are put in place, I completely count on there could be an influence on shoppers,” mentioned Monica Ganley, principal at Quarterra, a consultancy specializing in Latin American agricultural points and commerce.

“We’re completely going to see larger costs. It is a very actual and really related concern for American shoppers.”

The consequences of a shutdown would run each methods.

Mexico is the most important importer of U.S. exports of refined fuels like diesel and gasoline, a few of which strikes by rail. It’s unclear if rail terminals could be affected by closures.

As altering palates have elevated demand for recent produce, and a better number of it, the USA has more and more come to rely on Mexico to satisfy that want. Imports have practically tripled since 1999. In that interval, Mexico has gone from supplying lower than a 3rd of imported produce to 44 % at present.

Along with avocados, nearly all of imported tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries and raspberries come from Mexico. Whereas there are different producers of those items globally, opening these commerce channels would take time, mentioned Ganley.

Though the share costs of U.S. grocery store chains like Walmart (WMT.N) and Kroger (KR.N) didn’t seem affected by Friday’s announcement, meals corporations would in the end really feel the ache.

“We’d be out of enterprise for some time,” mentioned Barnard.

Reporting by Kate Duguid; Modifying by Dan Grebler

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