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  • Corn tortillas are an integral part of the Mexican diet. But the native corn species, and the traditional way of making them, are disappearing. A new company called Tamoa is trying to change that.

  • At the end of October there was a  strike in Mexico. Mexican avocado producers blocked the roads as they protested against the prices they got for their avocados. "Many growers were unhappy with the prices and they compared the market price of the USA with the orchard’s price of the avocado paid to the growers. There was a big gap between these prices, so these strikes began to demand better prices.

  • The drier weather conditions that affected parts of South Africa also had a negative impact in the maize-producing areas of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi over the past couple of months. Hence, these particular countries could experience a double-digit decline in maize production in the 2018/19 season compared to the previous one.

  • What will the supply of avocados to China look like in a decade's time? Will it still tilt almost entirely to Latin America? Or could it have a strong African component?

  • US consumers would run out of avocados in three weeks if Donald Trump makes good on his threat to close down the US–Mexico border.

    Trump said on Friday that there was a “very good likelihood” he would close the border this week if Mexico did not stop immigrants from reaching the United States.

    'We're one community': border cities fear Trump's crackdown

    But a complete shutdown would disrupt millions of legal border crossings in addition to asylum seekers, as well as billions of dollars in trade, about $137bn of which is in food imports.

    From the avocados on avocado toast, to the limes and tequila in margaritas, the US is heavily reliant on Mexican imports of fruit, vegetables and alcohol to meet consumer demand.

    Nearly half of all imported US vegetables and 40% of imported fruit are grown in Mexico, according to the latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture.

    Avocados would run out in three weeks if imports from Mexico were stopped, said Steve Barnard, president and chief executive of Mission Produce, the largest distributor and grower of avocados in the world.

    “You couldn’t pick a worse time of year because Mexico supplies virtually 100% of the avocados in the US right now. 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,” said Barnard.

    Monica Ganley, principal at Quarterra, a consultancy specializing in Latin American agricultural issues and trade, said that a border closure would inevitably hit consumers.

    “We’re absolutely going to see higher prices. This is a very real and very relevant concern for American consumers.”

    The US and Mexico trade about $1.7bn in goods daily, according to the US Chamber of Commerce, which said closing the border would be “an unmitigated economic debacle” that would threaten 5m American jobs.

    The effects of a shutdown would run both ways.

    Mexico is the largest importer of US exports of refined fuels like diesel and gasoline, some of which moves by rail. It is unclear if rail terminals would be affected by closures.


    Mexico's avocado army: how one city stood up to the drug cartels

    As changing palates have increased demand for fresh produce, and a greater variety of it, the United States has increasingly come to depend on Mexico to meet that need.

    Imports have nearly tripled since 1999. In that period, Mexico has gone from supplying less than a third of imported produce to 44% today.

    In addition to avocados, the majority of imported tomatoes, cucumbers, blackberries and raspberries come from Mexico. While there are other producers of these goods globally, opening those trade channels would take time, said Ganley.

  • Action is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs). As the principle connection between people and planet, sustainable food and agriculture can fuel positive change. FAO’s new publication, Transforming food and agriculture to achieve the SDGs, presents 20 actions to help countries in incorporating sustainable agriculture and rural development into their broader development goals. These 20 actions offer a practical guide to implementing the 2030 Agenda. Here are some examples:

  • One way to improve profitability, is to reduce input costs. When it comes to maize, one of those inputs – and a particularly significant one at that – is nitrogen fertiliser. But how much could you save if your maize, like legumes, could fix its own nitrogen?

  • A group of analysts from around the world met last week in South Africa to discuss the outlook for agricultural markets over the next 10 years. The group agreed it is hard to hit a moving target.

  • Global avocado market report from IndexBox highlights growth in production and exports

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