(Sept. 10) Importers expect an early start to the Ecuadorean mango deal, with the first fruit arriving in mid-October at Miami and Los Angeles area ports.

Meantime, in light of an early end to the Mexican deal, the industry and the market will rely on Brazilian mangoes. And Brazil has plenty of volume available, said Tom Argyros, sales manager for Diazteca Co., Nogales, Ariz.

“Today the market kind of fell apart,” he said Sept. 4, citing Philadelphia f.ob.s of around $6 a box.

All the same, that’s higher than the same time last year, when Mexico was still in the market. On Sept. 4, 2001, one-layer cartons of keitt mangoes crossing through south Texas were quoted at $2.75-3 for sizes 8s and 9s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Larry Nienkerk, general manager of Splendid Products, Burlingame, Calif., said that as supplies from Brazil increase, the market could go down to the $5-6 range.

Chuy Loza, category manager for mangoes for Fresh Directions International, Ventura, Calif., said the company didn’t foresee Brazil’s f.o.b.s. dipping below $5 during its peak, which comes in early October, he said.

By early September of this season, Mexico was largely finished, thanks to dry weather that caused the crop to come off earlier, Loza said.

The Mexican production schedule shifted two to three weeks early compared to an average year, he said.

Now, with Mexico largely out of the picture, Brazil is packing as much fruit as it can to ship to U.S. markets.

If Brazil ships heavy during September and October, that could leave a leaner pipeline by the time Ecuador hits its stride with tommy atkins and hadens in November, Loza said. By then, Brazil’s production peak will have passed, he said.

Ecuador sends a few kent variety mangoes to the U.S., but only toward the end of its season, which traditionally winds down in January.

Nienkerk said he foresees increased production from Ecuador this season as mango trees grow more mature and increase in yield.

Despite that, there’ll still be limited cargo space for boats coming to the U.S., Argyos said, noting that Ecuadorean mangoes compete with bananas for freight.

“So the volume could go up,” he said of U.S. imports, “but I don’t think you’re going to see a substantial increase.”

The Brazilian deal draws almost entirely on the tommy atkins variety, said Eric Crawford, president of Produce-ing Results International, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The quality of the fruit has been “outstanding,” he said, with good color. “Some of the nicest fruit I’ve seen in years,” Crawford said.

Still, he said, there was a slight shortage of smaller-size fruit, maybe because of retail promotions of 10s and 12s that could have boosted demand. Loza said the Brazilian crop was peaking at 8s and 9s.

Brazil’s volumes should start to diminish in October, Nienkerk said. Brazil will have mostly larger sizing then, which could fuel demand for smaller sizing from the Ecuadorean deal as the industry makes the transition between the two countries.

Diazteca should see its first arrivals from Peru by mid- to late January, Argyros said.