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US: Minor hiccups in banana import season
Although banana imports to the United States have remained fairly stable, minor problems have affected fruit. Importers have reported that weather and insect problems have affected volume and quality in the short term.
Val Briones, of the United Fruit and Produce Company, says that the season has unfolded similarly to the previous year.
“The volume is right about average,” he says, “and the price has been pretty close to what it's been in previous years.”
Kevin Newton, of the Wholesale Produce Supply Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, agrees that prices have been stable.
“Almost 95 percent of the fruit we get is through contract, and that price is set for the year,” says Newton, “and looking forward to next year, the contract looks to remain about the same, maybe with a very small drop, but nothing significant.”
Newton adds that volume has been steady except for a short-term tightening of the market due to rains in Central America.
“There has been rain in Honduras that has affected supplies,” he notes, “and though we get most of our fruit from Guatemala and Costa Rica, the rain has made the season a little tight.”
United Fruit and Produce also experienced tight supplies last week, according to Briones, but he doesn't expect that to have long-term effects. He did note, however, that insect problems resulted in fruit with quality issues from Honduras.
“We had some issues with some fruit,” he says, “and customers just didn't want it.”
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