Ecuadorian mango seeks to recover production volumes after a bad year
The global mango industry had a difficult 2023, with significant drops in production volumes due to weather conditions.
In Ecuador, total production fell by nearly 50% compared to the previous year, as did export volumes.
"The summary is that here there was no summer, mango is a crop that needs the stress of the temperature difference between day and night to induce a little flowering, and that never happened last year, the temperature had to drop 5 or 6 degrees," says Nicolas Rodriguez, general manager of Sembriexport which exports 10% of the total annual Ecuadorian mango.
Rodriguez is optimistic that if this year there is a good flowering, the country's production can recover "because the mango tree is a tree that accumulates reserves and eventually will use them".
"However, I can't say for sure, the same thing could happen. Last year it was challenging to control the blooms to have a good fruit set because it is difficult to work the flowers when it keeps raining. I hope that this year will not be like last year," Rodriguez said.
If the rains stop when they should, in mid-May, we could see a recovery in production levels.
Main problem of Ecuadorian mangoes
Rodriguez believes that the biggest problem the local mango industry has is because of the varieties it mainly produces.
"Ecuador has a lot of Tommy Atkins, which is a variety that is very dependent on temperature variations and water stress, also on seasonal changes when winter leaves and the dry season begins."
Because of these needs of the variety, national production levels drop when normal climatic conditions do not occur.
"We have to try to work on varieties that do not require so much temperature difference so as not to lose so much volume, there are companies that in 2023 were able to put out only 30% of what they had produced the previous year," says Rodriguez.
Since Sembriexport has more than 50% of its production destined for Tommy Atkins, Rodriguez believes that beyond the varietal replacement, "we must also see how other places work the fruit in winter so that all that fruit that arrived with B quality can arrive with A quality".
The changing climate makes each year an unknown for growers seeking to produce as much high-quality fruit as possible.
Markets for Ecuadorian mangoes
"In 2023, 96% of the mango produced in Ecuador went to the United States," says Rodriguez.
That year, 6.7 million boxes of mangoes left Ecuador. Of this total, as Rodriguez points out, 96.4% were destined for the US.
The remaining volume was sent to Canada, Europe, and New Zealand.