This could be the first year in several years where Mexican growth is flat rather than trending up, said Chris Ciruli, partner in Nogales, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros. LLC.
“Production will drop off way faster than it should before the Fourth of July,” Ciruli said. “Prices are coming up, and overall it should be a very, very short late deal.”
A “feast or famine” weather pattern was responsible for much of the volume dropoff, Ciruli said, with heavy rains affecting Nayarit production and drought cutting into supplies in Sinaloa and Los Mochis.
In the second half of June, Pompano Beach, Fla.-based Central American Produce was wrapping up its Mexican tommy atkins mango deal and transitioning into mainly kents from Nayarit, said Sabine Henry, saleswoman.
As it has been from the beginning of the Mexican season, Central American and other importers were still battling small sizing the week of June 23, Henry said.
“The sizing profile has been (heavy on) 12s and 14s with very few large sizes,” Henry said June 23.
It will likely be a week to ten days before larger fruit from Nayarit starts entering the pipeline, she said.
The northern Sinaloa region of Mexico was ramping up volumes in the second half of June, but there were some questions about what exactly those volumes would be, said William Watson, executive director of the Orlando, Fla.-based National Mango Board.
“There were some erratic blooms up there,” Watson said. “We’ll see how it impacts things. We’ve heard all kinds of different stories.”
Mexico could still be on track for similar volumes as last year, but it’s too soon to tell, particularly with the uncertainty out of Sinaloa, Watson said.
Kents may not be as attractive on the outside as tommys, Henry said, but in addition to bigger fruit, importers can expect better flavor when kents start to take over the deal.
“Kents usually have the best eating quality, and the quality is pretty good this year.”
Kent volumes, however, will likely be lower than in a typical season, Henry said. And overall, Mexican mangoes should be exiting the deal earlier than usual.
“We’re praying for Brazil to be early, but we’re expecting a gap,” she said. “August is going to be a very difficult month.”
That should mean escalating markets in the coming weeks.
On June 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $4 for 1-layer flats of kents 6-9s from Mexico, down from $4.50-5 last year at the same time.
Markets were weaker than importers liked in the second half of June, Watson said, but he said prices would gradually rise after a short period of fluctuations — though when exactly that would happen remained to be seen.
Watson said it was unclear as of June 24 what kind of gap, if any, there would be between Mexico and Brazil, but he thought it was likely there would be at least a small one.