Avocado rustling in New Zealand

Surging local and international demand for avocados is fuelling a crime wave in New Zealand.

Since January there have been close to 40 large-scale thefts from avocado orchards in the north island of New Zealand, with as many as 350 fruit stolen at a time…It is suspected many more thefts have gone unreported.

Avocados are selling for between NZ$4-6 each [US$2.80-4.20] across the country, after a poor season last year and increasing local demand.

According to New Zealand Avocado in 2015 an additional 96,000 New Zealand households began purchasing avocados, and local growers – largely geared towards the lucrative export market – have been unable to keep up with the surge in demand.

…Sergeant Aaron Fraser of Waihi said there had been “spates” of avocado thefts during his time in the police but nothing as sustained as the current activity.

“These stolen avocados can carry risks,” he said…“They are unripe, some have been sprayed recently and they may still carry toxins on the skin. But with the prices so high at the moment, the potential for profit is a strong inducement for certain individuals.”

One of those commodity tales that prompts me to think of renting a not-too-big agri-freighter and bringing over a load from Mexico. We’re currently buying avocados at retail for about 50¢ apiece North of the Mexican border.

Thanks, Mister Justin

3 thoughts on “Avocado rustling in New Zealand

  1. Theo says:

    Mexican farmers in the state of Michoacán fear a resurgence of criminal groups may once again endanger their livelihood http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/a-thriving-industry-is-still-wary-of-cartels/ Michoacán reportedly produces 8 out of every 10 avocados sold in U.S. and more then half consumed world-wide In 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported that the control of avocado production by drug cartels in Michoacán made the avocados grown there the equivalent of the so-called blood diamonds of Africa.
    Farmers, fed up with the constant threat to their livelihood and safety decided in February 2013 to create self-defense groups in the community of La Ruana, an initiative that quickly spread throughout the state. In less than two years, the presence of the cartels was greatly reduced.
    Nonetheless, criminal groups weren’t completely eradicated and in recent months homicide rates have been increasing and new criminal organizations have appeared. Producers from several regions in the state have said they are once again the victims of extortion.
    The self-defense groups believe it is only a matter of time before the “bad times return.” These groups have been on high alert since the murder last October of Jesús Bucio, avocado producer and founder of the Tancítaro self-defense group, and the worsening of violence in other regions such as Tierra Caliente.
    See also “Why Mexican Cartels Want In on the Food Business” https://munchies.vice.com/en/articles/why-mexican-cartels-want-in-on-the-food-business includes What is the cartels’ relationship to the {marijuana) edibles market in the US?

  2. āhuacatl says:

    “Mexican Avocados Turned Away at US Border” http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Mexican-Avocados-Turned-Away-at-US-Border–20170124-0052.html
    Five trucks carrying a shipment of 100 tons of avocados from the state of Jalisco, Mexico were halted last Wednesday at the Mexican-U.S. border, by order of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, despite the avocados having been certified by the USDA and given export qualification.
    “As trade talks loom, US halts avocados” http://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/as-trade-talks-loom-us-halts-avocados/ …the shipment was stopped at the border in Reynosa, Tamaulipas due to “setbacks in the implementation of the required protocols,” as the Rural Development Secretariat of Jalisco explained it.
    On Friday producers decided to redirect part of the shipment to Canada and the remainder to the domestic market.
    Apparently, the agreement between both countries was that Jalisco avocados would be granted access to the U.S. if that country’s potatoes could enter the domestic market in return.
    That part of the agreement “got complicated” earlier last week, triggering the USDA’s rejection of the Jalisco avocados, said the state’s Rural Development Secretary.
    “Donald Trump, los aguacates y la Super Bowl” http://www.elindependiente.com/opinion/2017/01/20/trump-los-aguacates-y-la-superbowl/ …Coinciding with the grand finale of the Football League (NFL), which will take place on February 5 in Houston, demand for avocados is soaring in the US more than 750% (from 18,000 to 150,000 tons per week). Last year, the record was broken with 278 million avocados sold for the big day, the celebration in which more food is consumed in the United States after Thanksgiving.
    See also charts: “US Avocado consumption spikes in run-up to Superbowl”, “US avocado consumption per capita” and “US Mexican avocado prices per kg.” https://www.ft.com/content/fb1caaf8-dd92-11e6-9d7c-be108f1c1dce

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