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U.S. imports thin on bananasImports on bananas into the US are short due to chillier temperatures experienced in multiple countries.
“Since the beginning of the year we’ve had a shortage of bananas supplies. We have been experiencing colder weather, that means there is no grade in the fruit and the harvest has been delayed,” says José Hernandez of McAllen, Tex.-based Bananera Muchachita. “This has affected both regular and organic bananas.”
Supplies for bananas are coming from countries including Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras. “And there’ve been small volumes since the cold weather has hit these regions,” adds Hernandez.
Demand still good
At the same time, demand on the fruit hasn’t let up. “It’s coming from all markets and with the shortage, everyone is trying to fill their quotes. Even the local markets where bananas are grown are suffering,” says Hernandez.
Not surprisingly, that has created a push on higher prices on bananas. “Prices have increased considerably and will remain high for the month of March if this cold weather continues,” adds Hernandez.
That high price picture isn’t about to change any time soon either. “In the next few weeks, we’ll still see those prices, a cut on the supplies and mainly smaller fruit since some banana shippers are trying to keep up with their contracts. There’ll also be greener fruit on the shelves because of shorter ripening cycles,” says Hernandez. “We have to be prepared to have longer cold weather seasons and vice versa. The climate is changing and it will continue to change and we have to accommodate and change our plans in the way we plan our crops.”
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