Avocados: Friend Or Foe?
In the tracks of a superfood, along with a few others, avocados are right there on the top! Avocado is the fruit from the hot and humid tropics. Mostly originating from south-central Mexico. Along with the health benefits, this food is also a superstar on social media thereby fulfilling the most important criteria, right? 🙂
Avocado is the most versatile food i.e. it can be eaten at lunch or one can take that as breakfast! Because of such versatility, this fruit is also known as the Green Gold. Avocado can be considered as the flag-bearer for the new school food or cool food. But all this comes at a cost. Entire Europe imports Avocados from Chile. But, the fact is Chileans have to live without water because of Avocados!
Avocados plantations are highly water-intensive. To give a perspective, on average, 283 L of water is required to produce one kilogram of avocados. The higher the slope of land greater is the quality of Avocados. Thus, the majority of these plantations are on hills and every ounce of water is stuck in these plantations thus the canals at the foothills run dry! It is not like there is no water rather all the water is hidden in the thousands of hectares of these water-guzzling fruits. While the local farmers have to fulfill their water needs through water tankers, at the cost of taxpayer’s money.
The difficulties don’t end here. The wealthy business tycoons from various parts of the world are starting to acquire lands in Chile, for avocado plantations. With their money and might they pump the groundwater thereby drying up the underground water resources. This is a losing battle for water but there are few regions that are leading the successful battles against water scarcity.
While the Avocado farmers also try to use as little water as possible, the government is also building up new resources to use river water as drinking water. But these farmers have already made an upfront payment for water rights for using water resources. Critics also say that water is shipped to Europe in the form of Avocados.
Considering the use of Avocados the need for this fruit will only increase. There are restaurants that are known for their Avocado dishes. The taste and health benefits of this fruit are destined to attract more and more people thereby increasing the quantity of production. On one hand, more production will worsen the water scarcity problem, the export of these fruits is a major contributor to the Chilean economy thus, it cannot be banned altogether. But what can be done is to regulate the use of water resources. The government can keep a strict limitation on the hectares of land that a single person or a firm can use for Avocado plantation.
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