Ecuador: Mango volumes surpass expectations

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Ecuador: Mango volumes surpass expectations

Despite difficulties this season, mangoes out of Ecuador reached higher volumes than producers expected. As the country's mango season finished up in the third week of January, recent figures from the Ecuadorian Mango Foundation say that 12.9m boxes of mangoes were exported.

While this is a decline of 4% from last season, producers still consider it a win since it was much higher than the industry had initially anticipated. President of the Mango Foundation Yamil Farah told about why volumes surpassed projections this year.

"Throughout the season, the expectation was that we would export a lot less. This was because of various factors - like the climate and the rain that went on for longer than usual," he explained.

Although exporters initially anticipated numbers to be on par with last year, the industry adjusted projections around the middle of the season. Farah went on to add that "this season began in the 38th week (two weeks later than usual) with really small volumes and a lot of variation from week to week,".

So, because of that, the industry wasn't expecting to see many boxes exported. However, beginning in week 48, production numbers started spiking upwards - even surpassing numbers during the same time last season. From that week forward, production made it so that the decline in exports wasn't as bad as it could've been.

Size and quality of Ecuador's mangoes

While Ecuador exports various varieties of mangoes, arguably its most popular is the Tommy Atkins mango. Nearly 70% of all mango exports are of this variety. Because of the variety's importance in the industry, Farah explained, growers really tried to pay close mind to the size of their Tommy Atkins.

"We have tried to control sizing so that we're not sending size 14 mangoes, that way, size 10 and 12 fruit has the best results possible in commercial markets," he detailed.

Similarly, regarding quality, Farah said that the control of quality is advancing bit by bit. He added that "it is already the last season that the farms are in process. Next year, they should be certified".

Diversifying markets

And in order to achieve the good results in markets that Farah talked about, the Mango Foundation said it is interested in opening new markets. Currently, the main market for Ecuadorian mangoes is the U.S. - with 93% of all exports going to the country.

Reflecting this goal for further expansion, Ecuador sent 10 containers to Russia this year, the first time the industry has exported to that market. Looking forward, Farah said that the industry is in the process of a deal with Jordan. Exporters are also "extremely close" to opening up the Korean market, he added.

For those export markets, pricing has remained pretty stable, explained Farah. After consistent pricing through week 50, prices went down slightly. This was because of smaller volumes out of the country, new competition as Brazil ramped up its volumes and "surprising volumes" from Peru.

The three Latin American countries had relatively small volumes this season. As a result, there wasn't a lot of variety in size this season and, by extension, the mango was met with lower prices in the market.

For the upcoming season, Farah gave us some insight on what to expect. With hopes that the season brings more stable weather conditions, Ecuador also hopes to see better sized mangoes. This is "what we are working towards - investing in farms to improve sizing because markets increasingly prefer bigger sizes," he detailed.

Farah also told us about the Mango Congress that the industry is holding in 2020. The event will include lectures and talks on research in the industry. Farah emphasized that "we want to invite everyone to join us in these activities".

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