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Mango supplies could be tight until March

01/21/2015 10:43:00 AM
Andy Nelson


Courtesy Central American Produce

Mango volumes could be tight until March, when Mexico and Guatemala start shipping in volume.

Peruvian volumes were increasing in the second half of January, but not likely enough to have a significant effect on prices, said Sabine Henry, saleswoman for Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce.

“There were big shortages the last three weeks,” Henry said Jan. 19. 

“Things are improving, but it’s still short compared to previous years. We’re enjoying the high prices, but wish we had more volume.”

Peru will soon be the only game in town, Greg Golden, partner and sales manager for Amazon Produce Network, Mullica Hill, N.J., said Jan. 19.

“There’s Ecuadorian fruit on the water, but the packing-houses have shut down.”

Amazon Produce has known all along there would be significantly less fruit from Peru this season, Golden said. What’s been frustrating is not knowing exactly when those shipments will arrive and in what volume.

“We’re really struggling to maintain a clear vision of what’s going on in Peru,” he said.

“We heard ‘delay, delay,’ then we heard they’d have an early end. It’s keeping the outlook very cloudy.”

The Ecuadorian season should wind down by the end of January, said Manuel Michel, executive director of the Orlando-based National Mango Board. About 8.9 million boxes of Ecuadorian fruit had shipped to the U.S. as of January 10, 2015.

Peru is expected to ship about 8.9 million boxes to the U.S. this season, Michel said. Through Jan. 10, about 1.6 million boxes of Peruvian fruit had been received, 21% less than was projected for that date.

Mexican exports are expected to begin arriving in mid-February and Guatemalan exports about a week later, Michel said.

Peruvian arrivals will likely peak in early February before tapering off, Golden said, but he couldn’t predict at what rate. Volumes should peak in the 8 and 9 size range on kents, by far the dominant variety for that time of year. Amazon Produce will bring in light volumes of Tommy Atkins, too, Golden said.

Volumes won’t likely return to seasonal norms until Mexico and Nicaragua ramp up in mid-March, he said.

Volumes will continue to inch up the weeks of Jan. 26 and Feb. 2, Henry said, but not enough to make a big change in the market. That may not happen until the second week of March, when Guatemala and Mexico begin shipping.

In addition to weather-related issues, more Peruvian fruit is going to Europe and Canada this year, Henry said.

The increase in Peruvian volumes is being largely offset by the decrease in Ecuadorian volumes as that deal winds down, Henry said. And when Nicaragua begins shipping in February, volumes will be too light to make much of a dent in prices.

The quality of Peruvian mangoes in January was excellent, Henry said, with about 70% of fruit size 9 and larger.

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