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The first quarter of the year was marked by Peru, one of the major mango suppliers, having another challenging end to their season, leading to shortages in many markets. Record high prices per box and kg are being seen in some European markets. The big drop in volumes is due to the ongoing El Nino that has caused hotter and drier weather leading to lower flowering and fruit set and a substantial drop in export volumes from Peru. Brazil stepped in to fill the gap by diverting local market supply to exports, especially for Europe, to meet the high demand and fully benefit from the high prices. The Dominican Republic, meanwhile, will see mango production increase by 15% in 2024.

In North America the supply is down compared to the same time last year. Demand is strong leading up to the Cinco de Mayo early next month. Mexico is shipping, mainly from Michoacan. Guatemala has entered the US market, with Nicaragua also shipping a small amount. South Africa's local campaign is ending with the final fruit coming from Limpopo. Mango exports have finished, while imports have not yet started.

In China mango prices plummeted by 17.83% and 18.22% in January and February, respectively. Unusually hot weather accelerated the ripening process, leading to an earlier-than-usual harvest. Producers were under pressure to sell the produce quickly, leading to further price declines. In late May, Pingtung mangoes from Taiwan reached the peak production period. A new cold chain facility has allowed Taiwan to prevent 20% of losses, with exports going to Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.

There is still great uncertainty in the main mango production country in Europe, namely Spain, despite an improvement in the water situation due to better rain than last year. A grower noted, "It is very difficult to venture into making forecasts and only during the summer will we be able to respond to these unknowns…" Germany is seeing limited supply with big price rises. Due to the limited supply, prices have now risen to 50 EUR per box. In Italy wholesale prices reached record levels with peaks of 9-10 €/kg in week 17. In the Netherlands Brazilian Palmer mangoes are in focus after shortages of Peruvian mangoes. The first West African Kent mangoes are slowly arriving on the market.

Peru: Producing oranges mostly for local market
Peru's mango season ended disappointingly with only a few companies still sending product. An exporter noted, "These last mangoes are sent with low aesthetic standards and quality, but customers in Europe are allowing them or being flexible, as long as you can send the product. But it will not go beyond this month, after that everything will be finished. We hope that in the new season of 2024/25 there will be more product compared to the season that is ending."

"This season was atypical due to the absence of winter or cold. And the consequence of this is that there has not been much mango, that prices have been high while this season is ending one or two months ahead of schedule, unlike past years," the exporter notes.

Another exporter said the up to 80% lower production of Kent mangoes affected about 200,000 people working in the Peruvian industry. Due to the lack of production and thus exports many businesses in the value chain could simply not operate.

Producers are looking forward to a normal winter in Peru this year, which will favour not only mangoes but also many other agricultural products will increase their yield.

Brazil: Providing supply outside normal window to meet big demand
Producers and exporters in Brazil have stepped up supply of mangoes to especially Europe where there was a big demand due to the low availability from Peru. Mangoes that are traditionally destined for the local market during January to March, was diverted to exports to capture the good prices paid. The Palmer and Tommy mango varieties were especially popular with high prices paid by the Netherlands and Spain.

This great performance of higher exports in the first quarter of 2024 follows after a record 2023 mango export season with Brazil's mango industry reaching $315 million in revenue, 15% higher than the 2022 season with about 266,000 tons. Brazil has the ability to produce and export mangoes all year round. The Vale do São Francisco region in Northeast Brazil accounts for over 90% of production with the Bahia state that has 47.36% and Pernambuco states with 45.42% of production.

Dominican Republic: To see mango production increase of 15% in 2024
The mango organisation in the island nation say they will increase export shipments to reach a total of 39,000 tons in 2024. They aim to reach a combined total of 96,000 tons, that includes local market consumption.

The mango industry in the Dominican Republic handed a life-line to exporters from Haiti, to serve their clients, given the security challenges in that country. This follows the recent spate of violent gang attacks, preventing the USDA inspectors of travelling to Haiti to certify exports, which halted their programmes.

North America: Shifts ahead in North American mango supply
Mangoes continue to arrive steadily, though they are short on certain sizes and fruit is also on the short side heading into Cinco de Mayo. The supply at this time last year was more plentiful. There was no overlap with Peru this season, which was noticeable in the marketplace.

Mangoes are shipping from Mexico, mainly Michoacan, and will continue to do so until sometime in September. The growing conditions have been good, though there was not as much moisture from timely rains which is making the fruit undersized and smaller fruit is dominating.

Meanwhile, Oaxaca, Mexico is likely in its second or third bloom by now and probably doesn't have much available fruit. Guatemala also entered the market and Nicaragua is also shipping a small amount.

On varieties, Hadens, Tommys, and Ataulfos are available now and Kent will start soon. As for demand, it's very strong leading up to Cinco de Mayo next month and growers and shippers are hoping that strength will hold throughout the season. All of this is keeping mango pricing steady though prices are strengthening.

South Africa: Local campaign ending
The local mango season is nearing its end with the final fruit coming from Limpopo; the last mangoes grown in the Western Cape were loaded for the Gauteng wholesale market last week, but some retailers still stock Cape mangoes.

Mango imports have not yet commenced. Retailers are working on a year-round mango supply from within the region through plantings in neighbouring countries.

At the Johannesburg fresh produce market, small counts go for R100 (4.8 euros) per 4kg carton while larger sizes sell for R150 (7.3 euros) per 4kg carton. Despite the high prices, mangoes - only a handful pallets every second day arriving at the market at this late stage of the season - move quickly.

Mango exports have finished: it was bedevilled by the same problems in the port of Cape Town that affected grapes, but lower volumes from Peru created a pull from Europe and the UK which to a degree compensated for quality issues caused by logistical delays.

China: Overall mango prices fell significantly
In the first few months of 2024, mango prices experienced a continuous decline, with the downward trend intensifying each month. Hainan, the primary mango-producing region, holds a pivotal position, followed by Guangxi. Mangoes from Hainan typically reach the market earlier than those from Guangxi due to differences in ripening times. In the first quarter, unusually high temperatures accelerated the ripening process, leading to an earlier-than-usual harvest. Consequently, fruit farmers faced heightened sales pressure, prompting them to offer their produce at lower prices. As a result, mango prices remained below those of the previous year during the same period.

More specifically, mango prices plummeted by 17.83% and 18.22% in January and February, respectively. In March, the influx of mangoes from Guangxi further bolstered market supply, causing prices to nosedive by an additional 29.22%.

Regarding key varieties, both Shuixian and Xiaotainong mangoes witnessed consistent year-on-year price declines, with the downward trajectory steadily worsening. In March, escalating quantities of ripe fruit compounded sales pressures compared to the previous year, resulting in further price reductions for these varieties. The year-on-year price drops for Xiaotainong and Shuixian mangoes expanded to 24.08% and 34.77%, respectively.

In late May, Pingtung mangoes from Taiwan, reach their peak production period. On April 16th, at the new cold chain collection and packaging facility of the Pengquan Production Cooperative in Fangliao Township, mangoes were packed into containers for export to Hong Kong, China. Su Maoxiang, the director of the Agriculture and Food Agency, emphasized the role of cold chain technology in enhancing the competitiveness of Taiwan's fruits and reducing transportation losses by up to 20%. The primary export markets targeted include Japan and South Korea.

Bangladesh: Winter fog and heat could lead to 50% less mango production
The Rajshahi region, the leading mango production area, could have 50% less fruit due to challenging weather. A lot of fog during winter, rain in March and now excessive heat is damaging the mango tree blossoms. Producers are also battling pests. All these factors will lead to a substantial drop in production that will lead to losses.

Spain: Rains improve water situation in largest mango production area
The drought in Andalusia has been the great condition of the subtropical campaign in 2023, reducing mango exports by 49% in volume and 33% in value between August and December, compared to the same period of the previous campaign.

Imports, for their part, grew by 17.25% compared to 2022, experiencing notable increases from August to November, which even rose to +258% in the month of October compared to imports in the same month of the year, according to FEPEX figures.

This year, after having started with the same concern about the lack of water with which 2023 ended, the rains of March in Malaga, which have caused the La Viñuela reservoir to go from 8% of its total capacity to more than 18.6%, offer an undoubtedly more favorable scenario for the next campaign.

"Last year the flowers from the first bloom in February/March were cut, as always, waiting for the spring rains, which did not arrive, so the drought meant that the trees, practically, did not have the opportunity to flower a second time in April/May. That has been one of the factors of the very low production last year."

"To give a drastic example, a house supplier normally harvests about 200-300 tons of mango, and last year he only obtained a symbolic production of 9 tons. Like him, many other farmers this year have not dared to remove that first flower and the rain has come at a very good time for the fruit."

The fact that there was fruit set from that first flowering raises the possibility that the campaign could be brought forward compared to the years in which the fruit set a month later. "It is very difficult to venture into making forecasts and only during the summer will we be able to respond to these unknowns. A lot will depend on how the trees will respond, because if there is fruit available, the mangoes could begin to be cut earlier in order to also alleviate the suffering of the trees."

Germany: Limited supply, big price rises
The Peruvian mango season is slowly coming to an end. Due to the limited supply, prices have now risen to 50 EUR per box. "Everyone is currently looking for air-freighted mangos. When a batch arrives, it's sometimes sold out within ten minutes. We are waiting for the transition to Mexico, Brazil, Israel, and the Dominican Republic. It will likely take a few more weeks before larger quantities come from these producing countries. Therefore, the next three to four sales weeks will be extremely tough, which is why further price increases cannot be ruled out," an importer says.

Italy: Wholesale prices reached record levels
According to a wholesaler in northern Italy, wholesale prices for mangos have reached record levels, with peaks of 9-10 €/kg in week 17. Obviously, this is a high quality product that arrives by air from South America, with a stopover in Madrid, and then reaches Italy by truck. This quality product is sold to specialist shops, while supermarkets look for a cheaper product. Peru is at the end of its production. Then imports come from Mexico and Africa, for example from the Ivory Coast and Senegal.

"Peru has practically finished a season of limited quantities: only the last Keitt mangoes are still arriving by air," adds another wholesaler from northern Italy. "In week 17, the first Kent fruit will arrive by air from the Ivory Coast, followed by shipments by sea. In this case, regular volumes are expected. From Brazil, very little product is arriving by sea, and of poor quality, due to the unstable weather in recent months'. With regard to prices, the wholesaler also points out that, whereas a fortnight ago mangoes of various varieties transported by sea were showing purchase prices of €3-€5 per 4 kg package, now you are lucky to find packages for €8 to €9. The fruits most sought after by supermarkets are size 9s, which are in short supply and command exorbitant prices."

According to GfK Consumer Panel Services, the mango is one of the most common tropical fruits in Italian households. Around 3.6 million households buy them at least once a year. The distribution channel with the largest number of purchasing households is obviously the supermarket, which has lost share to discounters over the last year (to the end of February 2024).

The Netherlands: Brazilian Palmer mangoes in focus after shortages of Peruvian mangoes
A tight supply of mangoes from Peru this year led to a strong demand for Palmer mangoes from Brazil, says a Dutch importer. "The Palmer variety has always been somewhat overlooked, but due to the shortages in the market, we have regained credibility." Currently, according to the trader, the mango supply is still tight. "The first West African Kent mangoes are arriving on the market gradually, but overall, there are many shortages. The larger sizes are somewhat more readily available on the market, but there is a significant shortage of the smaller sizes. However, I do expect a somewhat broader supply in the market in the coming weeks."

Next week's topic: Blueberries