(June 16) Shipments of Mexican mangoes to the U.S. are increasing steadily, importers say.

As crop production peaked, demand in Mexico had fallen off, creating a solid U.S. supply, said Chuy Loza, mango category manager for Fresh Directions International, Ventura, Calif.

Loza said he expected total mango shipments from Mexico this year to be around 45 million 10-pound boxes before the season ends in the middle of September.

Prices have dropped considerably over the last two months as supply has grown. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, f.o.b.s for one-layer cartons of tommy atkins crossing the border in Texas on June 15 were $2.50-2.75 for 10s and $2.25-2.50 for 12s. In Nogales, Ariz., tommy atkins were $2.35-2.65 for 10s and $2.25-$2.50 for 12-14s.

Rodrigo Diaz, vice president of Diazteca Co., Nogales, said ataulfos have fallen off peak, and tommy atkinswill start to do so as June draws to a close. The kent variety will begin to dominate the market during the upcoming peak weeks, he said.

Jerry Wagner, sales manager for Farmers Best International LLC, Nogales, said Mexican hadens and keittswould be available toward the end of the summer.

Diaz said buyers could expect more 10s and 12s in the immediate future for both kents and tommy atkins because of favorable weather in Nyarit and southern Sinaloa.

Wagner said the condition and sizing of the fruit were above average. Despite the good crop, he said the deal had plenty of room to grow.

Diaz said the Mexican deal would hit its peak around June 28 and last about four weeks.