The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is currently reviewing a Pest Risk Analysis, pest list and comments from SAGARPA, Mexico’s department of agriculture, said Tanya Espinosa, an APHIS spokeswoman.
If APHIS approves the request, hass avocados from other Mexican states could be exported to the U.S., Espinosa said.
Currently, the U.S. allows imports of Mexican avocados from the state of Michoacan only. A record 782 million pounds of avocados from Michoacan were shipped to the U.S. in 2011-12, up from 620 million pounds the season before.
Tom Bellamore, president of the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission, said he had not seen any proposals from Mexico, but was aware that other Mexican states were interested in exporting to the U.S.
Bellamore was cautiously optimistic that, should other Mexican states be allowed to export to the U.S., demand could keep up with the extra product.
“I guess my answer is, ‘I sure hope so,’” he said. “Growth potential still exists in the U.S. Avocados from elsewhere are an essential part of selling avocados in the U.S. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that there’s room for everyone.”
Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Irvine-based Hass Avocado Board, said the board was investing in nutritional research to stimulate demand.
“If you look at the success of the past ten years, the industry has seen tremendous growth, and I think there are opportunities to keep growing,” Escobedo said.