Is Our Hunger for Avocados Killing the Environment?

Avocado: Too Much Passion For a Fruit – Sales of avocados are exploding, helped in part by vegetarians and vegans. In Chile, demand is starting to outstrip supply, and the livelihoods of producers and the environment is now at risk.

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Colorful, healthy and in fashion. The avocado is now a staple in the diet of young Westerners. But at what cost to producers and the environment? “Before, we used to grow beans, peas, potatoes. In the 1980s, we started with the avocado tree”, remembers Chilean farmer Guillermo Peña. It was a bold but successful move as the avocado’s profitability proved much higher than traditional agriculture. It is claimed that for a kilo of avocados you need 2,000 litres of water. This, combined with a drought raging since 2010, has caused a fierce debate between the large exporters and farmers. “It’s a lie. We use 389 litres per kilo”, says the President of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association.

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