The shortage could last even longer, according to Bill Sheridan, executive vice president of sales with Banacol Marketing Corp., Coral Gables, Fla.
“Supplies are very tight coming out of Costa Rica and Colombia,” Sheridan said Feb. 16. “Right now it looks like it will continue for another eight to 10 weeks, based on the weather.”
Sheridan said lower than normal temperatures in the last quarter of 2011 slowed production. He said there are usually minor supply issues this time of year, but the weather had greater effect than usual this season.
In Chicago at Panama Banana, president Todd Pappas agreed with Sheridan’s assessment overall. But, Pappas expects demand to flatten out a bit as other fruits begin coming into season. Pappas also said that slightly higher prices because of low supplies will eventually register with consumers and add to the expected decline in demand.
As of Feb. 16 at the Miami terminal market, banana availability was “very light” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prices for 40-pound cartons of Guatemalan greens were $10-11, which was unchanged from a month ago, and $1-2 less than January 2011. No Guatemalan yellow prices were reported.