President Donald Trump has threatened to completely shut down the border between the United States and Mexico, a move that would dramatically impact the food supply in America. About half of all vegetables that are imported in the US are from Mexico, as well as 40 percent of the fruit. Avocados could be gone in just three weeks.
The US is highly reliant on Mexico for fruits, vegetables, and even some alcohol. Without the imports, demand could significantly outpace supply.
If imports of avocados from Mexico were to stop, Steve Barnard, the president and chief executive of Mission Produce, says that America would run out of the popular food in just three weeks.
“You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100 percent of the avocados in the US right now,” said Barnard, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
“California is just starting, and they have a very small crop,” he added, “but they’re not relevant right now and won’t be for another month or so.”
On Friday, Trump stated that there was a “very good likelihood” that he would close the border between the US and Mexico this week if Mexico didn’t stop immigrants from crossing into the United States. Such a shutdown would also disrupt legal border crossings – likely in the millions – as well as those seeking asylum from potentially gaining entry.
Billions of dollars in trade would also cease, approximately $137 billion of which is related to food imports.
“When a border is closed, or barriers to trade are put in place, I absolutely expect there would be an impact on consumers,” said Monica Ganley, the principal of Quarterra, a firm that specializes in issues surrounding agriculture and trade in Latin America.
“We’re absolutely going to see higher prices,” Ganley assert. “This is a very real and very relevant concern for American consumers.”
In addition to avocados, Mexico supplies tomatoes, cucumbers, raspberries, and blackberries to the US. While there are other nations that also produce those food items, adjusting trade with them could take time.