Climate change having 'terrible impact' on avocados, report says

Volatile weather conditions have led to a decline in productivity  (PA Archive)
Volatile weather conditions have led to a decline in productivity (PA Archive)

Climate change is having a “terrible impact” on avocado growth across the world, according to a report.

Researchers at the charity Christian Aid said that a hotter, drier world would make it more difficult to provide the significant amount of water needed to grow the fruit.

The superfood has boomed in recent years amid a rapid growth in the popularity of brunch dishes such as avocado on toast.

However, the report warns that volatile weather conditions have led to a decline in productivity in countries including Burundi, Chile, Peru, Spain, South Africa and Mexico.

Mexico, the world’s biggest producer, could see its potential growing area reduced by 31 per cent by 2050 - even if global average temperature rises are limited to under 2C, according to the report.

Areas suitable for avocado production are expected to decline by between 14 per cent and 41 per cent by 2050, it forecasts.

A Savanta poll published as part of the report found that nearly two-thirds of Britons (63 per cent) want the Government to support farmers in developing countries that are providing food for UK dining tables.

The UK currently sources most of its avocados from Peru and Chile.

Jolis Bigirimana, an avocado farmer and president of Farmer's Pride Burundi, said: “We are experiencing hot temperatures, heavy rain and erosion, which is having a terrible impact on farmers' productivity and their income.

“It now costs us a lot of money to water our crops which has affected our income and is a threat to our livelihoods.”

Mariana Paoli, Global Advocacy Lead at Christian Aid, said: “Avocados might be a superfood but their kryptonite is climate change.

“They are thirsty plants that are ill-suited to a hotter, drought-prone planet which is where we’re heading if rich nations don’t act to cut their fossil fuel use and reduce emissions.

“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.”