“The local market was very high thanks to our sustained growth, so we could take refuge on local prices,” he said.
“The export prices did achieve normal to higher prices due to the lower export volumes out of Peru.”
Masias said early summer arrivals of clementines allowed Peruvians to obtain high f.o.b.s.
“We can not complain that on a difficult year for the rest of the world and harvesting a low crop, we had extraordinary results,” he said.
Mark Greenberg, vice president of procurement for Cape Town, South Africa-based Fisher Capespan agreed early and late season crops do particularly well, but there is a midseason period of two or three weeks where weaker sales translate to low returns.
Benavides said costs have also gone up because of the revaluation of the Peruvian currency, the nuevo sol, against the dollar by about 12.5% in the past year.
“While on the one hand the cost of fertilizers and other dollar-based inputs has dropped, on the other hand our costs (labor, energy, fuel, etc.) in soles have increased due to the revaluation,” he said.
Exiting the deal
Suppliers sitting out this year’s Peruvian citrus deal gave different reasons for doing so, while those in the deal challenged the claims made.
“There just wasn’t enough volume for us to really keep at it,” said Joe Berberian, sales manager for Bee Sweet Citrus Inc., Fowler, Calif.
Berberian said Peru did not help fill a timing gap for him, and he felt frustrated with Peruvian suppliers.
“Truthfully, it’s a headache,” he said about direct importing product from Peru. “I wouldn’t buy Peru over Chile.”
David Marguleas, vice president and chief marketing officer for Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif., said his reason for ceasing to import Peruvian citrus had nothing to do with quality.
“We imported Peruvian citrus for a couple of seasons and realized that the Peruvian minneolas that we imported did not fit with our customers’ needs, and we are focusing on the importation of Peruvian grapes instead in the fall,” he said.
“It had nothing to do with color or brix or anything else.”
Greenberg said he could not understand how importers could claim frustration working with Peru.
“The people that we work with are extremely sophisticated shippers,” he said.
“Three or four years ago, their product was not viewed positively in the market because color was not as deep as other oranges coming in the market. In the last four years, they have come a long way in developing a product that is attractive to the North American taste.”