The fast uprising of the fourth industrial Revolution has implicated a global desire to control the environment by decarbonizing the economy and creating an autonomous system. In this regard, global organizations have expressed concern over the rapidly rising temperatures and an equally rising demand for water amidst the prospects of water shortage. On the other hand, people have become more aware of their health, thus conceiving identity stances for agriculturally produced foods as opposed to Genetically Modified Foods. The conflicting interests continue to express the validity of meeting contemporary agricultural demands in the face of a negatively changing environment. Besides, literature cites the agricultural sector as the most significant global consumer of water. Some acclaim that agriculture is also one of the most significant sources of global water shortage and pollution. The adversity of agriculture is further responsible for the two-thirds of the global population that lives in water-scarce environments (Mekonnen et al., 3). Experts propose that the situation will further worsen with the diversification of food preferences, bound to project a 70-100% food increase in food demand by 2050 (Caro et al, 1). Among the most water-dependent and huge contributors to water scarcity in the agricultural sector are avocados.
The global rise of avocado demand has implicated a diverse effect on both the environment and the global population at large. While the worldwide avocado industry continues to grow with a projective proposition of $19.5 million by 2027 as opposed to the current value estimate of $14, Chile and other large exporters have had to accommodate water shortage (ReportLinker). The previously perceived “Green Golds” have now been turned into a dry valley free from any water source. This water shortage menace has been relevant enough to trigger secondary irrigation schemes by sourcing water from other rivers and streams. Conversely, organizations and states have invested in new water supply systems to reduce the reliance on natural streams and rivers in avocado firms (Reints et al., 2). In this regard, technology has provided alternatives to the conventional production practices intending to provide a remedy to the draining water sources. This conflict in interest expresses whether there should be a global restriction on avocado production in a bid to contain the available water and prevent the prevalence of water shortage. Currently, more than four billion people live in areas with scarce water supply (Mekonnen et al., 3). The statistics further identifies a minimum of one-month of water shortage in such populations. However, a restriction on production will eventually implicate a strain of the avocado market as demand increases. Thus, the present article relays the question: Should there be a global restriction on the natural ground-based avocado production systems to prevent further water pollution? Conversely, the paper will aim to validate that the global should introduce a global ban or restriction on the naturally ground-based avocado production systems to prevent further water pollution.
The fourth industrial revolution path is set to revolutionize current non-efficient methods by providing a technological alternative that either eliminates the menace or provides a safer approach in goal-managements (World Economic Forum, 11). The concept is more than a revolutionary desire on the economy but also accommodates the integration of technology in all systems hence creating a societal shift where people will recognize and adapt to system changes. As part of the problems to solve, the fourth industrial Revolution aims at using technology to renovate current agricultural systems for better productivity (Corfe, 3). On the other hand, the field of agriculture is continuously facing frequent drought periods. Research by previous scholars proposes a more adverse impact on the agricultural sector as a result of distracted productivity and growth.
The Revolution to a new industrial period will have to first face the growing demand for resources and foods with similar scope in exploiting the resources. For instance, while water shortage will increase massively, water needs are expected to follow the food trend of a 50% increase by 2030 (Bell, 1). If the government continues to allow the overutilization of water resources, that would otherwise aid future generations. Thus, to this point, avocados should be prohibited in the natural ground-based systems. However, the direct implication from this is that there will be a shortage of supply for the increasing demands. Besides, avocados hold a strong position in defining some states’ economies and the US import value (Williams et al., 7).
The Growth Demands of Avocados
Unlike other fruit trees, the avocado tree possesses distinctive growth and demographical features. For instance, research cites avocado as the most saline sensitive crop among other trees in its species (Shalhevet, 84). However, a significant limitation is expressed where avocado is highlighted as having a mild adaptation to water scarcity. As such, avocados end up polluting water as part of their growth process. Besides, the water supply consistency despite the season is bound to implicate a strain in later years. In comparison, while avocados require a 70-liter per avocado water supply, oranges demand 22-liter and five for tomato (Danwatch).
Avocado Production in Chile
Despite avocados’ evident notion requiring a high water supply, the fruit tree is grown in both wet areas and dry areas. Thus, it is only possible that the dry areas supporting avocado production are on the verge of falling, inhibiting a drought period. For instance, the high demand for avocado in the US market is greatly satisfied by Mexico. However, not all areas of Mexico exhibit these avocado-conducive conditions. Instead, areas dry like Chile’s Petorca provide in the Valparaiso region often produce more water demanding avocado trees, up to 320 liters. This statistic translates to 64 times the requirement of a tomato (Bartlett). Prior to the region’s exploitation through avocado firms, the inhabitant used to grow other food crops like beans and crops and further exercise animal keeping. However, foreign companies and investors have exploited the cheap land and utilized it for the investors’ benefit. Apart from posing as a source for water exploitation, the farm negatively affected the inhabitant by misplacing them.
Chile is not only limited to avocado production by its environmental condition. The country further possesses restrictive legislative frameworks that limit any interventions’ efficiency to promote an eco-friendly avocado production environment. By exploiting the fact that water in Mexico is privately regulated through property laws, individual investors have devised ways of legally acquiring the areas for low prices. The legal system even provides a system where land is privatized through the local government. The direct implication of this system is that investors possess full authority over the land. Thus, many investors opt for such depletive strategies, which are bound to implicate a long-term menace. Overutilization has also grown to affect the inhabitants, who further undergo strain in ensuring maximum agricultural production.
Alternative irrigation systems in Avocado production
Chile’s case is only indicative of other dry areas having to bear the strain of avocado production. However, as proposed by the fourth industrial Revolution, technology is set to the current diversity system and assure the same high yield with limited adversity to the environment or its inhabitants (Corfe, 5-6). For instance, Eric conducted a study to assert whether using recycled and desalinated water improved productivity in reference to GHG emissions, life-cycle energy, and costs. Irrigation was equally guided by a model that demanded the lowest elevation levels to be first irrigated, hence assuring water’s convenient leveling (Bell, 7). Although the study asserted that recycled water is an inefficient alternative in irrigation, recycled water will most certainly reduce the depletion of natural sources through overexploitation.
Though not very much evident in avocado production, the use of recycled water also holds an adverse effect on the farmers. Although farmers will support an eco-green environment, adopting this approach will equally implicate a heavy financial burden (Bell, 10-11). Besides, it is also possible that the use of an inefficient irrigation procedure will result in poor utilization of water as a resource. The debate of revolutionizing the conventional irrigation methods within avocado production firms continues to grow, with some scholars expressing concern over the limited time in educating the society about system changes (Reints et al., 18). Analysts propose that the system will take a long time to revolutionize and will further alter cost productivity.
According to Caro et al., the water consumption associated with avocado production is highly dependent on the international market (Caro et al., 5). Thus, if the market continues to grow, avocado production areas will inevitably bear a water strain even in alternative irrigation methods. Besides, approving the systematic change will imply a paradigm shift in operation and a halt in some production sectors. Farmers will bear this final burden by exhibiting lower production against a higher demand. Ideally, the prices will be manipulative as indent investors try to drain the avocado market.
To ensure a self-sustaining agricultural environment, it is paramount that current practices also consider the scope of their impact on other future generations. Thus, this paper’s argumentative clause considers the notion that eco-friendliness should be granted higher predence as opposed to investor benefit. With the proposed alternative to irrigation, the system will have considered the environment’s future. However, if the investor’s interest will persist, the system will only avail short-term results to the farmers (Bartlett). Ideally, with a productive goal in avocado farming, the use of recycled and desalinized water for irrigation will improve these fruit trees’ growth conditions (Bell, 4-6). Thus, although a high deficiency of cost will be inevitable, the system will integrate productivity and environment-friendliness as part of its benefits. In terms of market sustainability, remedies are already in practice where Chile sources for near but potential market within the same regional block. In turn, these markets provide a higher price with a lowered cost of transportation for the farmers and export countries. As mentioned above, the concepts give enough evidence to propose the restriction of avocado production in a natural ground-based system.
Past literature and research evidence highlight agriculture as one of the biggest global water consumers as a resource. With that in reference, the present study adopted an analysis of the fourth industrial Revolution in providing an alternative tech-based system, based on the theme of energy and resource conservation. Avocado, which has continued to highlight a rising global demand, is preferably one of the most significant sources of agricultural water exploitation and a highly prevailing water shortage. With the menace of water shortage already being evident in avocado production areas, it is essential to identify a remedy that also provides a higher or equal yield potential with conventional methods. Thus, the proposal of using recycled and desalinized water for irrigation sources validity from its potential in improving crop productivity while limiting water exploitation. However, this approach also drags in a higher financial burden and market instability due to system changes. Hence, production systems should focus on a long-term productivity goal where self-sustainability will be ascertained with a sacrifice of short-term market instability. On the other hand, conventional irrigation methods only provide market sustainability for a short time while limiting focus on the future of production. Thus, the operational efficiency in shifting irrigation from the conventional environment offers sufficient evidence to assert that restriction policies should be introduced to limit overexploitation of avocado production areas.
Bartlett, John. “Green Gold: A Global Demand For Avocados Leaves People Without Water In Chile”. KCET, 2020, https://www.kcet.org/shows/earth-focus/green-gold-a-global-demand-for-avocados-leaves-people-without-water-in-chile.
Bell, Eric M., Jennifer R. Stokes-Draut, and Arpad Horvath. “Environmental evaluation of high-value agricultural produce with diverse water sources: case study from Southern California.” Environmental Research Letters 13.2 (2018): 025007. (Bell, )
Caro, Dario, et al. “Global virtual water trade of avocado.” Journal of Cleaner Production (2020): 124917.
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Danwatch. “How Much Water Does It Take To Grow An Avocado?”. Old.Danwatch.Dk, 2020, https://old.danwatch.dk/en/undersogelseskapitel/how-much-water-does-it-take-to-grow-an-avocado/.
Mekonnen, Mesfin M., and Arjen Y. Hoekstra. “Four billion people facing severe water scarcity.” Science advances 2.2 (2016): e1500323.
Reints, Julie, Ariel Dinar, and David Crowley. “Dealing with Water Scarcity and Salinity: Adoption of Water Efficient Technologies and Management Practices by California Avocado Growers.” Sustainability 12.9 (2020): 3555.
ReportLinker. “Global Avocado Industry”. Globenewswire News Room, 2020, https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/08/18/2080101/0/en/Global-Avocado-Industry.html#:~:text=Global%20Avocado%20Market%20to%20Reach,revised%20size%20of%20US%2419.&text=5%20Billion%20by%202027%2C%20growing,over%20the%20period%202020%2D2027