Ecuadorian mango season off to a strong start despite delays
The beginning of the Ecuadorian mango season has opened on a strong note, with projections estimating four to six times more fruit will be shipped to the United States in the coming weeks than at this time last year.
Kristine Concepción, communications specialist at the U.S. National Mango Board, said that the upcoming season looks good.
"They’re projecting 420,000 to 590,000 boxes for the following week, which is relatively really strong for their season.
"Around this time for Ecuador, what arrived at the U.S. entry port last year at this time was 66,000 to 146,000 boxes, compared to the 420,000 that they’re shipping this year.
"It’s definitely weather; it’s a huge contributing factor for this season."
As the nation nears the peak of its season, exports have slightly exceeded original esitmates. Concepció said shipments last week reached around 250,000 boxes, 148% higher than the week prior and about 50,000 more boxes than estimated.
"Weather has been definitely in their favor. So it hasn’t been too rainy. El niño hasn’t passed. The weather has really been good to them and it’s great conditions for the crop there," Concepción said.
Favorable weather leading up to the season, however, comes after a rocky start at the beginning of the 2012.
David Ponce of Amazon Produce Network grower relations explained that the Ecuadorian season is off to a late start due to rain early in the year.
"The season is a little bit delayed. Pretty much because of the weather. The flowering went a little bit delayed on the Tommies but on the Kents they’re fine. They had late rains at the beginning of the year, so they couldn’t treat the fields properly to induce the flowering," Ponce said.
The delay from Ecuador comes just as the Brazilian season comes to an early close due to weather.
Despite the shift in export seasons, Ponce anticipates a stable market and stable prices. Cost per box should stay at US$8-9, the same price Brazil mangoes have sold at this season.
The first shipment of Ecuadorian mangoes arrived to the Amazon Produce Network's East Coast offices last week and Ponce said quality ranged from fair to really great.
Although most of the company's shipment included yellow mangoes, Concepción said that Tommy Atkins, a red mango, currently made up 40% of Ecuadorian exports to the U.S. The yellow Ataulfo mango comes in a close second at 36%.