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Published on 13 May 2024

In recent years, avocados have transformed from a niche food item into a global culinary phenomenon. Enjoyed for not only for their taste but for their health benefits, including high fibre, healthy fats, and a wealth of vitamins.

A new report from Christian Aid, ‘Getting Smashed: The Climate Danger Facing Avocados’, reveals a troubling forecast for this beloved fruit. The report sheds light on the broader implications of climate change on agriculture and global food security.

A shrinking landscape for growing

Avocados have become something of a controversial fruit. Known for their impact on the environment due to its need for lots of wate, but this need for water is what makes themn especially vulnerable to climate change in a hotter, drier, more drought-prone world.

Some of our best avocado growing regions are shrinking – and many people around the world rely on the high fibre, vitamin-rich fruit for essential nutrition.

A decline of 14%- 41% by 2050

Their growth and viability as a crop in the changing climate in the current major producing areas of Mexico, Spain, Chile, and Colombia is projected to shift. Globally, areas deemed highly suitable for growing avocados are expected to decline by between 14% and 41% by 2050, depending on how quickly global emissions are reduced.  The worse the climate scenario, the more rapidly prime avocado growing regions will shrink.   

Mexico, the world’s biggest producer, could see its potential growing area reduced by 31% by 2050 even if global average temperature rise was limited to under 2C. If temperatures rise by 5C, growing areas could reduce by 43%, endangering the industry’s sustainability and the livelihoods dependent on it.

Read the full report

Voices from the frontline in Burundi

Avocado Farmers like Jolis Bigirimana, who leads Farmer’s Pride in Burundi, express the dire circumstances they face due to changing climate condition: 

‘We are experiencing hot temperatures, heavy rain, and erosion which is having a terrible impact on farmers' productivity and their income. We only have a very short period of rainfall here in Burundi and during that period avocado growers used to water their plants.'

Image credits and information i
Jolis Bigirimana, an avocado farmer and leader of Farmer’s Pride in Burundi faces challenges, due to the changing climate conditions, to his productivity and income. Credit: Christian Aid
Jolis Bigirimana, avocado farmer in Burundi looking at the plants in his farm

But because of climate change the weather is now more extreme and this has affected our productivity. It now costs us a lot of money to water our crops which has affected our income and is a threat to our livelihoods.

‘We need to see richer, polluting countries to cut their carbon emissions which is driving this extreme weather and also provide climate finance to help us adapt to the changing climate.’

Christian Aid Week 2024

This year, we're focusing our support on Burundi, where many struggle to meet their daily needs. People are pushed to the brink of survival.

Global impacts and local challenges

In 2022, the UK was the seventh-largest importer of avocados in the world, accounting for 3.31% of imports of the fruit. That same year, avocados were the 539th most traded product.

The report coincides with a new Savanta poll, which shows the British public want the UK Government to support farmers in developing countries that are providing food for UK dining tables.

  • 63%

    of Brits agreed the Government should do more to reduce the impact of the climate crisis on the food supply chain to the UK.

Asked if the Government should do more to reduce the impact of the climate crisis on the food supply chain to the UK, such as supporting farmers in developing countries shift to more sustainable and resilient methods of production, 63% of Brits agreed, while only 9% disagreed.

Without action from Governments to cut emissions, Avocados face an uncertain future.

Read the full report

What we’re calling for

Christian Aid is calling on governments to commit to urgent emissions reductions and accelerate the energy transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable energy.

We also want to see more financial support provided to vulnerable agricultural communities that rely on avocado growing for their livelihoods so they can adapt to the changing climate – a change that has been driven primarily by polluting nations in the global north.

Agricultural communities in developing countries are already bearing the brunt of the climate emergency and they rely on stable and predictable climates to feed their families.  That is why it’s vital they receive a lot more financial support to adapt to this changing climate.

- Mariana Paoli, Global Advocacy Lead at Christian Aid.

Read more

Getting Smashed: The climate danger facing avocados

The world’s best avocado growing regions expected to decline by between 14% and 41% by 2050 due to the climate crisis.

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