5/3/2019 – The Washington Post
When President Trump began blustering in late March about shutting the border with Mexico, possibly blocking produce-laden trucks and other cross-border commerce, long-suffering U.S. avocado growers could have been excused if they had erupted in a fit of pre-Cinco de Mayo merriment and broken out some strictly U.S.-sourced guacamole.
Avocado growers in California, who once produced 90 percent of the avocados consumed in the United States, remember 1997 as the year of the original sin, when the U.S. Agriculture Department substantially lifted an 83-year-old ban on the importation of Mexican avocados. The ban had been enacted in 1914 to safeguard U.S. avocado production from pests such as the seed weevil. As protectionist measures fell after passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993, the acceptance of avocados grown in Mexico in turn safeguarded U.S. exports of corn, pork and dairy products to Mexico.
The flow of creamy green gold from Mexico clearly whetted American appetites. In 1989, annual per capita avocado consumption in the United States had been just 1.1 pounds. By 2017-2018, the average American was downing 7.47 pounds of avocados a year.