Low volumes are raising the prices of Mexican mangoes, and some shippers say volumes won’t return to more normal levels until July.

Volumes in the state of Nayarit are about half of what they were last year at this time, said Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer of Nogales, Ariz.-based Ciruli Bros.

An extremely warm winter in Nayarit limited trees’ dormancy, which meant trees did not flower as they should have, Ciruli said.

“There’s a very limited supply and markets are much higher on reds and yellows,” he said.

Mexican mango prices rise

                                                   Courtesy Ciruli Bros.

Mango volume from the Mexican state of Nayarit is about half of 2008’s volume, says Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer of Ciruli Bros., Nogales, Ariz. Ciruli says a warm winter shortened mango trees’ dormancy period, affecting flowering. Ciruli says quality on early June mangoes is good, if not exceptional.

Also contributing to the lower volumes was an industry-wide shift from Michoacan to Nayarit and Sinaloa, said William Watson, executive director of the National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla.

“In transitions there’s always a dip in volume,” he said. “We’re seeing volumes tighten up a little bit.”

On June 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a price of $5 for one-layer cartons of tommy atkins 6s from Mexico, down from $5.50-6 last year at the same time. Ataulfo 12s were $6.50-$8.50, down from $8-8.50 last year.

June volumes out of Mexico could be off 5% to 10%, Watson said.

The shortages in early June would not likely last, said Mark Falkner, director of sales for limes and tropicals for L&M Cos., Raleigh, N.C.

“It looks like the volume’s there, we’re just kind of in a low area now,” he said.

Volumes would likely start to return to normal by mid-June, Falkner predicted.

Supplies would likely continue to tighten for Ciruli Bros. until the company begins shipping from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, in mid-July, Ciruli said.

Los Mochis experienced similar flowering problems, he said, but the addition of new fields in the region would likely compensate for the lower yields.

When Sinaloa comes on strong in July, volumes could return to normal, Watson said.

Despite the lower volumes in June, by the end of the Mexican season, overall volumes are projected to meet expectations, Watson said.

By early June most Central American deals had ended, Watson said. In addition to Mexico, some product was coming in from Haiti in early June, he said.

Quality in early June, while not great, was satisfactory, Ciruli said.

“It’s not a stellar-quality year, but it is acceptable,” he said.

Size profile was a little bigger than last year at this time, Ciruli said.

Early in the season, fruit was small, but by the first week of June it was back to normal, said Watson, who reported “amazing” quality on June 8.

Falkner reported very good quality and sizing on fruit shipping in early June.

“We haven’t had any issues,” he said. “We’re shipping mostly into Wal-Mart, and you’ve got to have the best quality.”