Ocampo said he expects volume to increase by 20% to 25% this summer.
More papayas have been arriving from Central America, Mashav said, because Brazilian growers have been sending their product via more costly airfreight. The growers chose air, he said, because the product’s shelf life can’t withstand the three weeks required from packing, loading, shipment and unloading via boat. The air shipments, Mashav said, have made for fewer quantities and higher prices.
The biggest problem Brazilian growers are facing, Ocampo said, involves the weakened U.S. dollar. Growers, he said, need more money to cover their production costs.
The weak dollar has depreciated against the Brazilian real from an exchange rate of about 3.13 real per dollar in June 2004 to 1.70 real per dollar today, Ocampo said.
HLB represents Caliman Agricola SA, Brazil's biggest papaya producer. Brazilian papayas shipped to the U.S. originate in the Espirito Santo and Bahia and Rio Grande do Norte regions.