Avocado production in Mexico has been put in check by filing a complaint with the T-MEC environmental commission. Just 10 days before the Super Bowl in the United States, an event to which Mexican farmers send more than 100,000 tons of avocado, the commission to observe compliance with environmental regulations within the trade agreement received a complaint from a Mexican citizen who denounced that the production of the fruit in Michoacán generates environmental impacts that “fit the definition of ecocide.”
The petition, sent on February 2 to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, will be reviewed by the agency’s secretariat over the next 30 days to determine whether or not a file can be prepared that in the long term could lead to recommendations from Canada and United States in environmental matters for Mexico.
In the document, published by the Commission, the anonymous complainant points out that the area dedicated to avocado production in Michoacán has shown accelerated growth and this has been “basically at the expense of forest land” of the State. He details that in just 17 years, the hectares occupied to produce the fruit went from 55,000 to 150,000, that is, there was an expansion of 172%. In addition to deforestation, he accuses that most farmers excessively use chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides that affect the groundwater table and contaminate the rivers and streams of the avocado region. He also warns that avocado plantations have an excessive use of water between 20% and 140%, and that the producers of the fruit illegally build water dams to irrigate their fields.
Released by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation on February 3, the petition is the first step in the process to determine whether it is necessary to open a factual file, a mechanism that makes information investigated for non-compliance with environmental agreements transparent. of the USMCA.
Within 30 days, if the secretariat determines that the petition meets the requirements, including that the complainant has the documents and information necessary to support it, it will continue to analyze the case for another 60 days to recommend or not to open it. from a factual record. From there, the denounced government has another 60 days to issue a response. With this information, the case would go to the Council of the Commission for a vote. According to the mechanism page, the process takes 14 months.
Since the T-MEC was signed, on November 30, 2018, a total of nine petitions have been submitted to the commission, of which three have already been closed and none have become factual records.
For now, Michoacán is preparing to supply the United States with avocado next Sunday. On January 17, the Association of Avocado Producers and Packers-Exporters of Mexico (APEAM) and the governor, Alfredo Ramírez, gave the starting signal for the first shipments of the fruit used to make guacamole. Given the insecurity that accompanies avocado shipments on the road, this year the Michoacán state police have implemented an operation to escort truckers on the 60-kilometer journey, according to the news agency. PA.