(March 5, 11:32 a.m.) An expected early end to the Peruvian mango deal could strengthen markets for Mexican product, grower-shippers and importers predict.

Tavilla Sales Co., Los Angeles, began bringing in ataulfos from the Chiapas region of Mexico the week of Feb. 18, slightly later than usual, said president Bill Vogel.

Farmer’s Best International LLC, Nogales, Ariz., began bringing in ataulfos from Mexico at the end of February, said Rick Burkett, salesman. The company expects to ship about 10% more ataulfos than last year, he said.

In the first week of March, markets were weak for smaller sizes of ataulfos but stronger for larger sizes, Vogel said.

The high quality of the early Mexican fruit will help buoy markets, Burkett said.

On March 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported prices of $9.50-10 for one-layer cartons of size-12 ataulfos from Mexico, comparable to last year at the same time.

Alpine Marketing Corp., Miami, expects Peruvian shipments of kents to wind up by mid-March, slightly earlier than normal, said John Lyons, sales director. The company began importing tommy atkins from Guatemala the week of March 3, he said. That deal should run through about mid-May.

Lyons expects stronger markets in mid-March as the deal transitions from Peru to Guatemala and Mexico.

The crop should ship for about six weeks, after which there could be a gap in mid-April for hayden and tommy atkins varieties begin shipping, probably around April 1, Burkett said.

Burkett reported “outstanding” quality on early-variety mangoes from Mexico, with plenty of product in the optimum 16-18 range.

First-set yields were light, Vogel said, but when the second set starts shipping, at the end of March, volumes should increase, he said.

In April, ataulfos also will begin coming in from the Michoacan, Jalisco and Oaxaca regions, and red varieties will start shipping from Nayarit and Sinaloa, Vogel said. Guatemalan shipments also are expected to begin in late March.

“By mid-April there should be a good supply of mangoes,” he said.

Mexican growers should benefit from an early end to the Peruvian deal, Vogel said.

“Peru had been coming with volume, but it’s coming to an abrupt halt,” he said. “As Peru winds up, more will be switching to ataulfos.”