National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

Why can't we all just get along like the avocado folks?

One tomato buyer I contacted this week for reaction to the suspension agreement between the Commerce Department and Mexican growers lamented how much time, energy, government bureaucracy, and billable time by lawyers and lobbyists are spent on the issue. He offered up a contrasting model:  the avocado folks, of course.

In his mind, the joint promotion efforts of California, Mexican and Chile avocado growers are a model example of competing growers/marketers working together to build consumption. I can't really argue with his point.

There is no doubt that the varying interests in the avocado world have combined to create an impressive marketing machine. Perhaps those who are "inside" the avocado industry would be better able to speak to the strengths and weaknesses of the cooperative effort.

Mandatory assessments for both imported and domestic fruit mean that all players are pulling their marketing weight.

Is the avocado model perfect? Not likely. Some might nitpick that there is too much duplication of marketing efforts, unneeded redundancy of retail engagement. In their heart of hearts, California growers may wish that Mexican growers never shipped an avocado to the U.S., but there is no turning back the clock.

Whatever the warts, the avocado example shines like the sun compared with the  tomato industry's obvious discord.

Is it possible for Mexican and U.S. tomato interests to come together for a promotion campaign? Not likely in the near future.

Wouldn't it be great if they did? Absoposilutely.

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