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Cold temperatures limiting banana supplies

The spells of cold weather have impacted supplies of imported bananas into North America.

“Right now, bananas are a little tight. The importers tell me they’re tight on fruit,” says Craig Amsden of Chelsea, Ma.-based New England Banana Co. “It just tightened up within the last couple of weeks. Other than that, supply was abundant. It hasn’t been tight for the past several years so it’s just recent.”

While production overall seems to be good, the chilly temperatures have affected the harvest. “Supplies at the moment are good since we’re harvesting 60 more hectares,” adds José Hernandez with Bananera Muchachita based in McAllen, Tex. “But the cold weather has hit us hard by delaying the harvest. We’ve been increasing our production but with the colder months, we get fewer bananas. As the weather gets warmer, we’ll get more fruit.”

Photo: Bananera Muchachita 

Hernandez notes that supplies are coming from Guatemala, Ecuador and Mexico though notably he adds that there’s more fruit from Guatemala this year in the U.S. market.

Less demand right now
Meanwhile demand, while steady, is at one of its lower levels of the year. “Demand is quiet right now for bananas and this is normal. The spring and the fall are the best time for bananas—in the summer, when it’s really warm, you get an awful lot of different fruits that aren’t available year round and bananas are always available,” says Amsden. Demand then picks back up in September once the school season starts up again.

The tighter supplies have impacted pricing and pushed it up by a few dollars compared to last year. “I think the prices will be strong until maybe April,” says Amsden.

Photo: Bananera Muchachita 

After that, with temperatures warming up, more supplies should free up and demand is likely to pick back up. “Supplies will be tight for a little while and then come spring, it’ll be right back up again,” says Amsden. 

While prices fluctuate on bananas with the weather, what is staying consistent and in fact continues to increase are production costs. “Our biggest challenge is the rise of our costs--freight, paper for manufacturing good quality cardboard boxes, certifications and almost every product needed to grow bananas has been rising in prices,” says Hernandez. “We as growers have to absorb all these costs.”

For more information:
Craig Amsden
New England Banana Co.
Tel: +1 617 889-7000
[email protected] 

Jose Hernandez
Bananera Muchachita
Tel: 956-631-0444
[email protected]