We Can’t Wash In Summer! How The Avocado Is Drying Up Chile’s Ecosystem

The increasing love of the world for the avocado, a staple ingredient for many foodies and Millennials due to its proven health benefits, versatility, and image of being close to the environment, is recognised everywhere. 

A quarter of a century ago you would be hard pressed to find the avocado in most Western supermarkets and shops – now it is virtually impossible to not see it on our shelves.

However, it appears that the Avocado is having quite a negative impact on the environment, notably that of Chile, one of the main exporting nations.

German public broadcaster DW recently made this documentary about the darker side of avocado growing in Chile – especially in the area of Petorca – and looks at how the once prosperous farmers of the area have seen the local rivers and streams dry up and their own crops wilt and die, while all around them much larger ‘mono growers’ are thriving, having effective control of what little water is available.

Really quite a sad documentary about how a popular and loved food has been maximised to the point where it affects the environment of everything around the area where it grows.

However, before you decide never to buy an avocado again it is worth noting that many of the importers of this fruit are point blank refusing to take avocado’s which have come from areas which have a negative impact on the environment. This is exemplified by Jan Willem Verloop, a buyer for one of the Netherlands largest fruit importers, Nature’s Pride, who points out that they avoid avocado’s from Petorca and maintains his company are only looking to “find the right partners located on the right spots” when buying on behalf of consumers.

Maybe we should buy Jan, and buyers like him, a drink to say well done. Maybe we should also try to be more aware of exactly where our food comes from and what impact our food choices are having on other people and the ecosystem.