Mango growers report ample supply, solid demand

04/06/2009 12:00:00 AM
Ashley Bentley

(April 6, Mangoes Marketing Profile) Although mangoes from Mexico started earlier and stronger than normal this year, demand seems to be keeping up so far. Most shippers expect supplies to lighten up in April, then to pick up again by early May.

“Mexico’s season started much earlier than normal and with much more volume than normal,” said Chris Ciruli, chief operations officer for Rio Rico, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros. LLC.

Ciruli Bros. ships exclusively from Mexico, usually starting in mid-March. The company started importing mangoes in February this year.

Ciruli said volumes were starting to come down in late March, and he expected them to pick up again at the end of April, when more areas in Mexico are producing.

“We got into the field so much earlier, so we’re already into the second harvest,” Ciruli said. “As well as you’ll generally see a labor shortage April 8-14. You typically see that during Holy Week.”

Ciruli said his company expects to be about 3 million boxes above last year.

“It’s a bumper crop year,” he said. “You’ll see it overall with imports out of Mexico.”

Princeton, Fla.-based New Limeco LLC also expects to ship more mangoes this year, possibly 100,000 boxes more than last year, said Eddie Caram, general manager. The company started importing from Mexico the last week of March, and is still importing from Guatemala.

The company ships mostly tommy atkins year-round, but does some kents and keitts when they become available. Caram said he expected to start with keitts in August. Quality of tommy atkins is very good right now, he said.

“Right now they’re very mature, have a lot of red blush,” Caram said.

Freska Produce International LLC had hoped for larger volumes than it has received, although supplies are up from last year.

“We were expecting a lot more volume coming into April, and things look like there’s not as much as we thought,” said Chuy Loza, managing member of the Ventura, Calif.-based company. “We thought we were going to get bombarded, but it hasn’t materialized.”

Loza said there could even be a small gap before the Nayarit region in Mexico starts producing.

“In May, we expect a gap,” Loza said on March 25. “We won’t have significant volumes again until June. On yellows, we’re experiencing a little gap as we speak that should last until Nayarit the first of May, so we’ll be tight in April.”

Loza said Freska Produce has been able to spread out the harvest well to avoid unwanted supplies.

“Shipments out of Mexico have been pretty projected,” he said. “We haven’t had a large peak one week to the next. That’s gotten us in trouble before.”


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