x
Breaking News
More () »

We'll run out of avocados in 3 weeks if President Trump closes the border

And, it might be way harder, or more expensive, to get a margarita.

TAMPA, Fla. — A new report says Americans would run out of avocados in just three weeks if President Donald Trump went through with his threat to shut down the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Reuters, nearly half of the United States' vegetables and 40 percent of our imported fruit are grown in Mexico. The publication says Americans are also "heavily reliant" on Mexico to import limes and tequila for the margaritas we drink here.

The estimates are staggering. According to Forbes, approximately 78 percent of avocados and 71 percent of tomatoes sold in the U.S. come from Mexico. Americans also reportedly get 15 percent of our sugar there, and we drink 80 percent of Mexico's tequila.

Mexico is the world's largest avocado producer in the world, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The country produced more than 2 million tons in 2017, and it exports an estimated 19,000 tons of avocados each week to the United States, according to USDA data.

At the same time, the FAO says the U.S. produced 130,000 tons of avocados in 2017, an average of 2,500 tons a week. That alone isn't enough to meet American demand -- The USDA says Americans consume about 1.2 million tons of avocados every year, which is an average of 23,000 tons every week.

If you took away the estimated 19,000 tons of avocados the USDA says the U.S. imports from Mexico each week, it would only take about three weeks for supply to fall vastly short of meeting demand, even with U.S. grown avocados and avocados imported from other countries still in the supply chain. 

“You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the U.S. right now," Steve Barnard, the president of the world's largest avocado grower and distributor, told Reuters. "California is just starting, and they have a very small crop; but they’re not relevant right now and won’t be for another month or so."

The president's border closure threat

The hypothetical situation of the impact on avocado supply comes after President Trump recently said he was likely to close America's southern border if Mexican authorities didn't take immediate action to stop illegal immigration. 

"It could mean all trade" with Mexico, Trump said when questioned Friday by reporters in Florida. "We will close it for a long time."

The President added on Twitter that "we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc., that the Border closing would be a good thing!"

Other impacts of a border shutdown

The U.S. and Mexico trade roughly $1.7 billion worth of goods every day. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said closing the border would be "an unmitigated economic debacle" that would threaten 5 million American jobs.

Alejandra Mier y Teran, executive director of the Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce in San Diego, said the mere threat of border closures sends the wrong message to businesses in Mexico and may eventually scare companies into turning to Asia for their supply chains.

"I think the impact would be absolutely devastating on so many fronts," said Mier y Teran, whose members rely on the Otay Mesa crossing to bring televisions, medical devices and a wide range of products to the U.S. "In terms of a long-term effect, it's basically shooting yourself in your foot. It's sending out a message to other countries that, 'Don't come because our borders may not work at any time.' That is extremely scary and dangerous."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

What other people are reading right now:

►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the 10News app now.

Have a news tip? Email desk@wtsp.com, or visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out