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US: Steady papaya supplies from Mexico, Central American volumes increase
Hurricane Patricia did less damage to Mexican agriculture than what was initially predicted, and supplies of many Mexican imports, papaya included, have remained steady in its wake. With attractive prices luring more Guatemalan growers into the market, Central American imports have been increasing over the years.
“Supplies from Mexico have been steady and volumes from Guatemala are up this year,” noted Andres Ocampo of HLB Specialties. “As the market for papaya has grown over the last 10 years, the number of growers who export year-round there has grown from four or five to about 10.” Ocampo estimates that Mexico, Guatemala and Belize account for about 85 to 90 percent of papaya imports in the United States, and with Mexican supplies holding steady, the uptick in Guatemalan shipments has made for larger volumes in the United States.
“Prices have responded to that,” explained Ocampo. “On average, prices have been a couple of dollars below what they were last year.” On November 30, prices for a 35 to 40-pound carton of Maradol papayas from Mexico were between $18.00 and $22.00 at crossings through Texas, and prices for a 30 to 35-pound carton of Tainung 8s from Belize and Guatemala were between $15.00 and $17.00 at South Florida ports of entry.
“I expect the market to stay the same through the holidays,” added Ocampo. “Hurricane season has passed, so there are no more big things that can affect supplies, and, though the market drags through the holiday season, it's in January and February when big storms, especially in the Northeast, can drive consumption down.”
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