Avocado packaging line in Trops' central facilities in Vélez-Málaga. / E. CABEZAS

Water footprint of avocado production is 'in line with other fruits', claims Spanish growers cooperative

Trops, based in Malaga's Axarquía area, said their analysis found that 314 litres of water are required to produce one kilo of the fruit

EUGENIO CABEZAS

With the persistent drought threatening the viability of the estimated 13,000 hectares of subtropical crops in the Axarquía the main producer and marketer in Spain, the Vélez-Málaga based cooperative Trops has analysed the water needs of avocados for the first time and found that these are “half of what has been estimated until now”.

Trops, which brings together more than three thousand avocado and mango growers from all over Spain, contracted world-renowned consultancy firm Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) to carry out the study. It found that 314 litres of water are required to produce one kilogram of avocados.

"We are very satisfied because these are sustainable quantities and show how avocado production under Trops' production systems has a water consumption similar to that of other fruit and vegetable products, and much lower than many other perishable products," said Enrique Colilles, Trops general manager.

Colilles added that, with this work, the 1979-founded company "strengthens its business model and its commitment to sustainability with the verification, by the consultancy firm SGS, of the water footprint of the avocado and the carbon footprint of the organisation".

These new actions are part of a business strategy being carried out to become one of the first companies in the agri-food sector to certify its commitment to the United Nations' sustainable development goals.

With regard to its carbon footprint Trops noted that its farmers' more than 1.5 million trees absorb 66,994 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, which prevents that amount of the greenhouse gas being released into the atmosphere.

According to the co-operative, Trops' activities as a whole absorb five times more carbon dioxide than it emits "which demonstrates the sustainability of our agro-industrial activity and its positive impact on the environment and the mitigation of the effects of climate change," Colilles said.