As Mexico’s mango harvest shifts to the states of Sinaloa and Sonora, importers believe volumes will continue to stay strong.
For most of the year, the volume of imported mangoes has been racing against last year’s numbers: a little ahead one week, a little behind the next.
While shipments from Mexico and Haiti briefly dipped last year in early June, this year’s crop has surged to the highest volumes of the year, at more than 3 million boxes per week, according to a weekly report from the National Mango Board.
Gary Clevenger, a managing member of Freska Produce International LLC, Oxnard, Calif., said that 33 million boxes came from Mexico by mid-June, compared to 28 million last year. Industry experts think it will stay that way.
“We’re looking at numbers that look like they’ll exceed what we did last year,” National Mango Board executive director William Watson said. “I’m sure we’re going to see more mangoes imported from Mexico than we did last year.”
The board’s weekly report projects that America will still be importing more than a million boxes per week through July and into August.
Mexico is where the majority of America’s mangoes are grown. Watson said that the Michoacan crop is finishing up, and fruit is beginning to come from Sinaloa and Nayarit. He said those states will be supplying mangoes into September.
Clevenger said his company was already sourcing the tommy atkins and kent varieties from Sinaloa, and would be for a couple of months. Steve Yubeta, vice president of sales for Farmer’s Best International LLC, Rio Rico, Ariz., said his company would start sourcing from Sinaloa in mid- to late-July.
Both Watson and Yubeta cautioned that as supply comes from further north into Sinaloa, which experienced cold weather, there might be a slight drop in imports.
While the quantities of incoming mangoes are bigger this year, the individual fruits are smaller, Watson and Clevenger said.
Clevenger said the bigger fruit — the 7s, 8s and 9s — are receiving higher prices than last year, because there is a smaller supply. He said the larger kent mangoes were earning $5-5.50 out of Nogales, Ariz., for one-layer flats. But he said smaller fruit was earning less than last year, with 10s, 12s and 14s in the $2.50-3.25 range.
He said he expects mango prices to increase, especially as volume drops when the Mexican crops wind down.
The volume of mangoes may be record-breaking again, but importers and industry and officials have faith in demand.
Yubeta said mangoes have to compete with other summer fruits by the middle of the harvesting season, but they compete well. He said demand has increased in the last few years, and it continues to rise.
Clevenger said retailers, responding to consumer demand, are giving mangoes better placement in produce aisles.
“If we’re looking at an increase in volume, that reflects back on the product coming through,” Watson said. “Clearly there’s a new home for more of them. Consumers are still excited about eating mangoes.”