The War Over Mangoes

Rector, Meredith
Date Written:  2017-03-13
Publisher:  Independent Science News
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20598

Growing mangoes in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca has racked up an enormous socio-political expense for the region far greater than the price tag on the fruit in the supermarket. For a Mexican drug cartel desperate to move product, hiding illicit drugs in mango shipments is a risky but viable cover for getting them to the U.S. market. For the people of Oaxaca, however, the infiltration of one of the region’s most important industries indicates the threat of a life controlled by drug violence and its wide-ranging effects on society.



One sector of the Mexican economy that grew during this period of stagnation was the informal sector, that is, economic activity that is untaxed and unregulated by the government and includes drug traffickers. The progress of these industries in their respective fields and the control of the agricultural sector by drug cartels has led to the birth of a socio-economic hybrid called “narco-agriculture.” Many different kinds of fruit have served as the front of drug cartel operations in recent years. But the most recent and prominent infiltrated sector is the mango market.

Oaxaca has particularly felt the effects of drug cartel infiltration because it is such a strong contributor of mangoes to the world economy. Exporting 32,000 tons of mangoes to Canada and the U.S. in the 2016 growing season alone, no other region has the same level of success.

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