With the Mexican organic mango season now complete, its South American neighbors Ecuador and Peru will start harvesting by next week. Steady supplies are expected through to November.
Ecuador exported 13.1 million boxes of mangoes last year, with projections of 14 million cartons this year. The primary organic mango variety continues to be the popular Tommy Atkins, followed by increasing production of Ataulfos. The Kent and Keitt varieties are also in steady production, primarily air-freighted to European markets.
Ecuador’s past tightly controlled production limits have loosened in the past several years, with overall mango production up approximately 15 percent (most of this increase on the conventional side).
Rafael Chiriboga, director of Pilot, SA, one of the two main US-bound organic producers in Ecuador, said overall growing conditions have been excellent. Sharing the sentiment, Noe Arias, west coast sales manager for Amazon Produce, said Ecuadorian organic mango demand/price generally start strong due to market shortages.
With consistent quality available, Chiriboga said the biggest challenge for Ecuador is the month of December when production remains strong and US market demand declines as the end of the year approaches.
Peru’s mango season is predicted to start early, with Jan Bernhard, grower and founder of Pronatur, anticipating the country’s first mango harvests occurring as early as mid-November with production in full swing by December.
Overall production of mangoes from Peru is projected to be less than previous years. “After two consecutive years of prolific production, the trees need to recover,” said Bernhard. “They seem to have gone into a vegetative growth state with much less floration over all, despite the ideal growing conditions we have seen.” He said conventional mango orchards, where floration is often induced, have seen a significant increase of small fruit in the recent weeks.
Organicproducenetwork.com also reported how growers and importers are also keeping a close eye on the potential threat of El Niño in January/February.