3rd Place Green Dystopia by Axel Javier Sulzbacher
The popularity of avocado has exploded in recent decades, with the burden of the rising demand falling mainly on the Mexican state of Michoacan. High international demand has led to more extensive and numerous plantations, with forests now being cleared illegally to plant more avocados. It is easy to see why, as more than 300,000 jobs directly or indirectly depend on the production and trade of avocados in the region, which generates an annual revenue of US$2.5 billion.
In 2021, Michoacán produced some 1.8 million tons of the green fruit and drug cartels have now become drawn to the revenue potential from the avocado trade. As violence escalates, the government has had to send in the military to maintain order, and in mid-2022, exports to the United States – the largest consumer of the fruit – had to be halted temporarily.