HomeNewsAvocados, Limes and Peaches: Cartel Violence Kills Harvests of Fruit in Mexico
NEWS

Avocados, Limes and Peaches: Cartel Violence Kills Harvests of Fruit in Mexico

DISPLACEMENT / 11 MAY 2022 BY HENRY SHULDINER EN

Mexico's produce industry has taken another hit from cartel violence, as tens of millions of dollars worth of peaches are set to be lost after farmers abandoned their fields.

An estimated 3 million trees across 6,000 hectares have been abandoned by farmers in the municipality of Jerez, in the central state of Zacatecas, one of the top peach-producing regions of Mexico, where up to 8,000 tons are harvested annually. Losses could reach some $45 million, reported El Sol de Zacatecas.

Cartel violence in Zacatecas has surged in recent years. In March, a group of displaced Jerez residents traveled to Mexico City to protest a lack of government action to safeguard their communities. Some 2,000 people from 17 communities have fled, Radio Formula reported. Miguel Ángel Torres Rosales, the congressional representative for Zacatecas, said residents who demanded protection had been provided only a National Guard escort to pack their belongings and leave their homes, according to a report by news magazine Buzon.

SEE ALSO: The Horrors of Zacatecas Could Happen Anywhere in Mexico

Mauro Talamantes, state coordinator for the National Farmer's Confederation (Confederación Nacional Campesina) in Zacatecas, claimed that more communities had been displaced than were reported. "Now we are talking about 30 displaced communities and all the productivity that this implies,” he told reporters.

Ranchers and apple growers in the state have also suffered losses after fleeing their farms. NTR Zacatecas reported that data from the Zacatecas Farmer's Parliament, a collection of civil society organizations, shows that over 10,000 head of cattle have been lost and 2,000 hectares of apples have been left to perish.

As InSight Crime reported in March 2021, Jerez has become a hotbed for synthetic drug production and sits along drug trafficking routes to the United States. A battle for control of Zacatecas is currently being waged between two of Mexico's most powerful cartels, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel New Generation (Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación – CJNG).

InSight Crime Analysis

Peaches are the latest loss in Mexico’s agricultural heartland, where other valuable crops, such as avocados and lime, have been left to rot in recent years after growers faced violent cartel threats and extortion.

The avocado business – dubbed "green gold" for its profitability – has long been a target of extortion by criminal groups. Cartels charge monthly protection payments from farmers. Gunmen rob trucks transporting the fruit. Fears of violence aimed at US safety inspectors led the US government to temporarily suspend avocado imports earlier this year.

Lime farmers also have been in the crossfire of cartel violence. Plantations of limes were left unharvested in Michoacán in 2021 after farmers and workers fled for their safety. Farmers have reported criminal groups dictating prices to them to squeeze higher fees.

SEE ALSO: Lime Crisis in Mexico as Cartels Target Farmers

Fruit prices in Mexico have risen drastically, with peaches, apples, papaya and others increasing between 10 and 45 percent recently. While many factors have contributed to the inflation of fruit prices, supply reductions have been blamed on farmers being forced to flee.

Farmers are also likely to have difficulties resuming cultivation after abandoning crops. Residents have reported that criminal groups have looted houses and stolen tractors in their absence. In February, El Sol de Mexico reported that over 30,000 people living in Zacatecas had left, leaving behind ghost towns of abandoned homes and fields.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HOMICIDES / 31 JUL 2013

Mexican border state Chihuahua and the southwest state of Guerrero tied for highest murder rate in the country in 2012,…

COLOMBIA / 18 JUL 2017

A new report says deforestation in Colombia increased considerably in 2016, with over a third of deforestation occurring in…

JALISCO CARTEL / 25 JUL 2016

The third reporter murdered in the southern Mexico state of Veracruz this year was gunned down in front of his…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela Drug Trafficking Investigation and InDepth Gender Coverage

29 APR 2022

On May 4, InSight Crime will be publishing The Cocaine Revolution in Venezuela, a groundbreaking investigation into how the Venezuelan government regulates the cocaine trade in the country. An accompanying event,…

THE ORGANIZATION

InDepth Coverage of Juan Orlando Hernández

22 APR 2022

Ever since Juan Orlando Hernández was elected president of Honduras in 2014, InSight Crime has provided coverage of every twist and turn during his rollercoaster time in office, amid growing…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela's Cocaine Revolution

15 APR 2022

On May 4th, InSight Crime will publish a groundbreaking investigation on drug trafficking in Venezuela. A product of three years of field research across the country, the study uncovers cocaine production in…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Widespread Coverage of InSight Crime MS13 Investigation

8 APR 2022

In a joint investigation with La Prensa Gráfica, InSight Crime recently revealed that four of the MS13’s foremost leaders had been quietly released from…

THE ORGANIZATION

Informing US State Department and European Union

1 APR 2022

InSight Crime Co-director McDermott briefed the US State Department and other international players on the presence of Colombian guerrillas in Venezuela and the implication this has for both nations.  McDermott…