At a June 21 groundbreaking event, officials including Silvano Aureoles Conejo, the governor of Michoacan; Manuel Manriquez Gonzalez, municipal president of Uruapan; Gabriel Villasenor, president of APEAM; and Mike Browne, president of the board of Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association, commemorate the event by burying a time capsule. ( Courtesy Avocados From Mexico )

Mexican avocado growers, packers and exporters are investing $12 million in a facility that will house research labs, U.S. and Mexico department of agriculture offices, and a research and development avocado orchard.

The facility, named Casa APEAM, will house the corporate headquarters of that group, the Producers and Packers/Exporters of Avocados of Mexico, and is a joint venture with the Mexican Hass Avocado Importers Association (MHAIA). The two groups promote avocados through Avocados From Mexico.

“The objective of Casa APEAM is to provide a central location to improve the development and sustainability of Mexican avocado exports,” Gabriel Villaseñor, president of APEAM, said in a news release.

A June 21 groundbreaking ceremony in Uruapan, Michoacan, brought local and state officials, and members of the avocado exporting/importing groups together to talk about the growth in exports of avocados to the U.S. since a longtime ban was phased out started in 1997.

“During the 1960s and 1970s, people in my native U.S. state, New York, didn’t know about the existence of avocados or what to do with them, but all that’s changed thanks to the work of APEAM, MHAIA and AFM – everyone, everywhere knows and loves avocados now,” Mike Browne, president of the MHAIA board, said in the release.

Construction is expected to take 1-2 years.

Browne said Casa APEAM will be the “epicenter of collaboration” to improve market planning, development and the business environment for stakeholders in the Mexican avocado industry.