What Is Avocado?
Avocados are dark green, pear-shaped fruits that grow in 60-foot tall trees. Inside, the avocado has one large pit surrounded by soft flesh that has an almost butter-like texture when ripe. It is native to southern Mexico but can be found in tropical and Mediterranean climates all over the world today.
Uses Of Avocado
Avocado has many culinary uses from sandwich toppings to guacamole dip. It has become increasingly popular around the world, particularly in the US where per capita consumption has increased from 2 pounds to 7 over the last year. Additionally, avocado is used to produce cooking oil, cosmetics, and some soaps. This fruit is high in potassium and vitamins K, B6, B5, B9, and E. It also has a high monounsaturated fat content, which makes it a good substitute for vegetarians or people without access to meat and dairy products.
Cultivation Of Avocado
The avocado tree grows best in humid, tropical weather with well-draining soil. It is commercially cultivated around the world and produces 7 metric tons for every 2.5 acres on average. The fruit is cultivated while still hard and only ripens when off the tree. This tree species is difficult to propagate via pollination. To ease the process, most cultivators graft onto producing trees. When cultivated by seed, the plant takes between 4 and 6 years to produce fruit. These trees are particularly susceptible to viral, bacterial, and nutritional diseases.
Top Avocado Producing Countries
Mexico is the top avocado producing country in the world. The total avocado production area is around 415,520 acres, which produces 1.52 million metric tons every year. The majority of the avocados in Mexico, 86%, are grown in the following states: Puebla, Morelos, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Mexico. Unfortunately, drug cartels control much of the state of Michoacán, where they charge avocado producers a protection fee to avoid damage to the crops. Not only does this country produce more avocados than any other country in the world, but it produces more per acre as well. The avocados are harvested by hand by using poles and baskets. This country has been increasing both production and exports over the last few years. The avocado industry provides 40,000 jobs and 70,000 seasonal jobs.
The second largest avocado producing country in the world is the Dominican Republic. It produces 420,000 metric tons annually, a number that has been steadily increasing over the last few years. A large percentage of this production is consumed nationally rather than exported. In 2011, this country exported $23.9 million worth of avocados, when it was only number 8 in global production. The Dominican Republic is currently planning to plant more avocado trees in an effort to reforest the island and to increase export potential.
Other significant avocado producing countries include Peru, Colombia and Indonesia.