(Nov. 7) An overabundance of high-quality sweet onions from Peru has flattened markets, but prices could begin to rebound as early as late November, importers said.

Higher-than-expected acreages in Peru and Ecuador, combined with near-ideal growing weather, produced a glut of product from Peru this fall, said Derrell Kelso Jr., president of Stockton, Calif.-based Onions Etc.

“Movement is just what we planned on it being, but the market’s terrible. Prices are in the dumper,” Kelso said Nov. 6. “Our acreage is the same, but it looks like others did some extracurricular planting without knowing what they were going to do with it.”

On Nov. 6, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $10-12 for 40-pound repacked cartons of jumbo and colossal yellow granex onions from Peru, down from $21-22 last year at the same time.

Peru is on pace to far surpass last year’s export total for the season, said Michael Hively, general manager of Bland Farms LLC, Glennville, Ga.

But markets should start to firm up later in November, Hively said.

“It’s a buyer’s market right now, but we think things will strengthen in the next three to four weeks,” he said Nov. 5.

Kelso also was optimistic that markets would start to improve, as Central American growers begin to reign in supplies.

“From what we’ve heard, everyone down there has stopped,” he said.

John Shuman, president of Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga., didn’t expect markets to strengthen until mid December or early January and said his company would have abundant supplies through early January before the deal starts to tail off.