Study shows Chilean avocados are efficient and sustainable
Chilean avocados stand out for their “efficient and adequate” sustainability and water usage. That was the main conclusion reached by a study carried out by the Regional Water Center for Arid, Semi-arid Zones in Latin American and the Caribbean (CAZALAC), an organization under the auspices of UNESCO.
Moreover, CAZALAC determined that Chilean avocados contribute to the compliance of 14 out of 17 of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in which “Action for the Weather,” “Sustainable Cities and Communities”, “Responsible Consumption and Production” and “Zero Hunger” are included.
“Farming activity and food production require the proper use of soils as well as an efficient water management — especially in the middle of a megadrought that has been extended for over 13 years in Chile. This unprecedented study that verifies the geo-environmental situation of Chilean avocados indicates that the production standards of this industry are moving toward a more sustainable and regenerative agriculture,” said José Gabriel Correa, head of the Chilean Avocado Committee, which acted as a facilitator in this study.
Researchers concluded that the broad coverage of the modernized irrigation system among Chilean avocado producers allows to qualify the hydric resource usage as “efficient,” which is key considering the context of drought.
Avocado trees are within the average range of water versus other fruit crops, even below of some of the main productions. It is worth mentioning that fruits are food that consume less water compared with cereals, oils, legumes, dried fruits, milk, eggs, meat and processed food, among others.
One of the most original findings of the report was the positive effects of the surrounding crops, considering the improvement of the soil a well as the interaction with both native flora and fauna. Although when the planting of avocado trees begins there is a change of the vegetation, the study concluded that in the medium term a new ecosystem is generated with greater vegetable coverage compared with the original, which can contain diversity with a high presence of microfauna, pollinating insects and native fauna.
In this way, it was verified that the surrounding native thicket present high biodiversity with abundance of species, generating a humidity and food support for the animals of the area. Besides, it was confirmed that between nine to 10 years after planting, avocado trees can reduce the soil erosion risk to similar values of the native surrounding vegetation, which also increases over the years. It is noted that the work with avocado trees crops last up to 50 years.
CAZALAC confirmed a bigger absorption capacity of CO2 in the atmosphere and its later oxygen release by the adult avocado trees in Chile, generating a positive ecological impact that helps counteracting the greenhouse effect in both greater time and space from the native vegetable species — especially in the arid and semiarid areas that have xerophytic formations.