(June 19) Shippers expect an early end to the Mexican mango deal, thanks to a drought that hastened ripening.

The same dry weather is causing smaller sizing. That, as well as the higher volumes being shipped this season, will mean plenty of opportunity for retailers to promote mangoes, said Larry Nienkerk, general manager of Splendid Products, Burlingame, Calif.

The next few weeks, the industry should see retail ads for multiples, with mangoes selling at four or five for $1, he said.

For the week ending June 8, EMEX reported total shipments to date for the year at 19.5 million boxes, compared to 14.7 million the same time last year.

The higher volumes likely led to the lower south Texas f.o.b.s reported June 17 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: tommy atkins 8-9s $3.50, 10s $2.75-3, 12s $2.50-2.75, 14-16s $2-2.50.

The same time last year 8-10s were at $5 and 12-16s $4.50.

All the same, retail promotions have helped prevent prices from dropping as low as they could have, said Tom Argyros, sales manager for Diazteca Co., Nogales.

Argyros noted that this season was about two weeks ahead of last year’s production schedule. With that in mind, he said prices the week of June 17 hadn’t dropped as low as the first week of July 2001.

Argyros said the industry already had passed its peak volumes for this season.

Chris Ciruli, salesman for Ciruli Bros., Nogales, Ariz., expects Mexico to ship about 2 million boxes per week into the U.S. into mid-July. Supplies should begin to lighten around July 15, which should strengthen markets.

In mid-June, the Mexican mango deal was moving into northern Nayarit and southern Sinaloa, Argyros said. Nienkerk reported smaller sizing on hadens and tommy atkins from Sinaloa, largely 12s and 14s with a few 16s.

But the small fruit should be cleaned up by the second week of July, when shippers should see larger sizes for tommy atkins and kents, he said. Ciruli doesn’t expect to see keitts in the U.S. market until late July or early August.

Ciruli said it should be interesting to see supplies and markets as the industry gets into the peak of Sinaloa production, which should fall around the July Fourth holiday.

Chuy Loza, category manager for mangoes for Fresh Directions International, Ventura, Calif., who reported peak sizing on tommy atkins at 12s and 14s, said the quality of the fruit had been excellent.

In some cases, though, fruit has been small enough that some growers haven’t harvested it, he said. Some shippers, rather than try to export 22s, have kept the mangoes for the Mexican domestic market, he said.

Regarding this season’s increased shipments, Argyros said there actually may be fewer sheds involved in the Mexican mango deal but that remaining shippers are moving more volume.