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Mango supplies expected to increase

By
Tim Linden

For the past several months, mango supplies have been tight leading to much stronger pricing than normal, but it appears relief is on its way.

Gary Clevenger, managing members for Freska Produce International in Oxnard, CA, said the mango market has been on the cusp of demand-exceeds-supply since October, especially on the larger sizes. During the last week of April, USDA’s Market News Service reported that the FOB price at the Texas/Mexico border ranged from $8 to $10.50 on 8s and larger. The smaller 10s to 12s were in the $4 to $7 range.

“It seems the El Niño effect has now hit Mexico,” said Clevenger. “We’ve seen the impacts in South America and Central America and now we will have to just wait and see if it follows the fruit throughout the Mexican deal. We have had supply problems since Ecuador.”

Each season, the Mexico mango harvest begins in late winter-early spring in the most southern Mexico states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, and then moves north through Michoacan, Jalisco, Nayarit and finally into Sinaloa.

“Right now, the volume just isn’t there [on the larger fruit],” Clevenger said. “There are no Ataulfos to be found. And demand definitely exceeds supply on the larger round reds.”

He did offer that that there are adequate supplies, and even promotable supplies, of 10s and 12s for the Cinco de Mayo pull.

Clevenger added that there is a 90-day time frame from the blooming flower on a mango tree to the time when the fruit is actually ready to be marketed. Consequently, he said it is too early to know if the late fruit that will come from Sinaloa will also be impacted adversely by this year’s weather situation.

Daniel Ibarra, president of Splendid by Porvenir, headquartered in Nogales, AZ, agreed that supplies are very tight. “For May there will be a shortage of fruit from Jalisco and Nayarit, which is the transition from Oaxaca state to Nayarit,” he said. “The only state that will have product is Michoacan.”

He said Michoacan’s fruit is also relatively short and returning excellent FOB prices. Ibarra added that he does not expect pricing to come down until at least the last week in May. However, he did note that he was talking about large fruit, as there are supplies of 10s and 12s.

“Fruit has not been big in size like other years,” he said. “Predominant sizes are 10s, 12s in rounds and 20-22s in yellows.”

But Ibarra predicted that June would tell another story. “We expect to have large volumes and prices will be more favorable,” he said, adding that the expectation is for good supplies in July, August and September.

The longtime veteran of the mango business marveled about how the FOB price for mangos has been fluctuating. He said one day in late April, the market jumped up $2 overnight, which is a very rare occurrence.

Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer for Ciruli Bros. in Nogales, AZ, noted that yellow mangos will be in short supply throughout May before rebounding in June with excellent volume from Nayarit. He expects the yellow Ataulfos from that region to be a bit larger than the 20-22 size fruit that has been prevalent in mid-spring. “Once supplies start to increase in Nayarit, we should see some larger fruit in the 17-18 range.”

But he noted that for the sizing to occur the mangos need some rain as they head to the finish line. “What really matters is the rain,” he said. “If we get some good rain, they will size up.”

Though Ciruli Bros. specializes in the yellow variety, it also offers round reds and the company executive said in late April its round red volume should be heading toward more volume in May and “only increase from here on out.”

He acknowledged that it has been a difficult several months for the round mangos as there have been fewer supplies than typical for the first few months of the Mexican season. That lack of volume followed the production from Central America and South America, which also experienced down years in volume.

But Ciruli is optimistic that there will be solid supplies moving forward and indicated that June could be a great promotional month for both red and yellow varieties.

Tim Linden

Tim Linden

About Tim Linden  |  email

Tim Linden grew up in a produce family as both his father and grandfather spent their business careers on the wholesale terminal markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Tim graduated from San Diego State University in 1974 with a degree in journalism. Shortly thereafter he began his career at The Packer where he stayed for eight years, leaving in 1983 to join Western Growers as editor of its monthly magazine. In 1986, Tim launched Champ Publishing as an agricultural publishing specialty company.

Today he is a contract publisher for several trade associations and writes extensively on all aspects of the produce business. He began writing for The Produce News in 1997, and currently wears the title of Editor at Large.

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