Workers are harvesting avocados in Mexico again, more than two weeks after a growers’ strike dried up exports to the U.S.
APEAM, the group that represents packers of avocados for export markets, announced the agreement with growers on Nov. 14. Jim Donovan, senior vice president of global sourcing for Mission Produce, Oxnard, Calif., confirmed the agreement Nov. 14.
“(The) industry is harvesting today,” Donovan said in an e-mail.
While the harvest has started, representatives of U.S. importers who own packinghouses in Michoacan have said that it may take up to a week for supplies to hit U.S. store shelves. Importers plan to skip the ripening process for some shipments, avoiding a 3-4 day delay.
“The first avocados will reach the border this weekend,” Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif. said Nov. 14. “Many, many more will be needed to get supplies back to normal.
“This will take weeks,” Wedin said. “Many avocados will not be ripened until after Thanksgiving.”
A statement from APEAM said the agreement was reached after a Nov. 13 meeting involving the association growers and several Mexican government agencies. Growers agreed to remove all roadblocks that kept harvest and packing activities from happening.
“Some harvesting took place yesterday and today, and we expect to fully resume our harvesting activities tomorrow,” according to the Nov. 13 statement from APEAM.
According to the statement, packers have agreed to improve communication about market conditions to growers, and increase transparency about prices, marketing costs and margins.
Growers had requested a floor price on the fruit, but packers, importers and representatives of the Mexican government said that was not allowed by law.
“The transactions between growers and packers will continue to be individual and based on market dynamics; not on any type of set pricing,” according to the statement. “Throughout this process, APEAM maintained the interests of its two sectors (growers and packers) as the priority, while always respecting and abiding by the law.”
The industry will focus on supplying the U.S. and other exports markets and “regaining the trust and preference of its customers,” according to the statement.