U.S. fruit importers expect strong volumes

12/23/2013 12:10:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Despite the increased production and demand, Mother Nature hasn’t entirely cooperated this season, he said.

“We’re shipping from Guatemala, but it’s been a slow season. It’s a little drier.”

 

Mangoes

Mangoes from Guatemala and, to a lesser extent, Nicaragua are set to ship in spring, with March and April likely the dominant months of the deal, said William Watson, executive director of the Orlando-based National Mango Board.

“They had a pretty good season last year, and we don’t expect to see any changes this year,” Watson said. “They should meet, and possibly exceed” 2013 volumes.

Central American fruit typically arrives around the same time as southern Mexican mangoes, taking over the lion’s share of volume from Peru, but thanks to emphases on different varieties, the deals have no trouble coexisting, he said.

“It dovetails pretty well with Mexico. They complement each other well. (Central America) has beautiful fruit.”

Tommy atkinses dominate the Central American deal, though some ataulfos and other yellow varieties should make it to the U.S. in 2014, Watson said.

Thus far, most growers outside of Mexico haven’t had stunning success growing yellow varieties.

“There are some yellows but not much” out of Central America, Watson said. “(Growers) are still trying to figure it out. It’s not necessarily that they’re harder to grow, there’s just not a lot of experience outside of Mexico.”

But that won’t likely always be the case.

“It’s just a matter of time” before yellow acreage increases in Central America and other growing regions outside Mexico, Watson said.

About 17,257 metric tons of mangoes were exported from Guatemala to the U.S. and 3,952 metric tons were exported from Nicaragua to the U.S. last season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


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