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Rodolfo Meza, Aztec Fruits:

"Strong peso detrimental to export of Mexican mangoes to Europe"

Avocados normally top the product list at Aztec Fruits, but this period marks a shift towards mangos for the Mexican exporters' group. Mangos also represent a major product line for the group, yet this season has proven to be challenging, according to Rodolfo Meza of Aztec Fruits, which primarily focuses on exports to Europe and has a sales office in Leuven, Belgium. "We are dealing with very high prices, and the strong peso is working against us," the trader explains.

In the mango category, the exporter works with Kent and Ataulfo varieties. "We have entered our sixth season with Kent since last week and our fourth season with Ataulfo, which we started in February," Rodolfo explains. "However, it's not always easy, as Kent is well-known among European traders. Yet, it's a very short season for us. We start in early June and continue until the end of July, sometimes stretching into August. Ataulfo starts in February and ends around the same time. Convincing customers to work with it is a lot of effort. It's a beautiful mango, but unknown to many."

Strong peso detrimental
And then, the current season is further complicated by a number of factors. "Firstly, prices in Mexico are very high. Due to the heat, there is little fruit available, which significantly raises prices. This makes it extremely difficult to send mangos to Europe. Therefore, it's more attractive for many to market the mangos in the American or local Mexican market. Especially for lesser-known varieties like Ataulfo, for which we see prices in the US that I have never experienced before. For Kent, we expect that some volumes will still be shipped to Europe by air freight from next week, but these are not the volumes compared to other years."

"There is generally also a demand for Mexican mango in Europe," Rodolfo continues. "But the second factor is the fact that the peso has become very strong over the past two years. When you talk to Mexican exporters, everyone says the same thing. The exchange rate is not in our favor. Previously, we received many more pesos for a euro. For importers, that's obviously ideal, but for us, it makes it very difficult in combination with the high transport costs for a long time and now the expensive fruit. It's not attractive to send to Europe. It becomes either too expensive, making it almost impossible to sell, or there's no profit to be made. Especially when you see that other origins with less strong currencies also ship large volumes to the European market. We can certainly say it's a challenging year, but it's not due to quality."

Product availability
This issue, the trader says, also extends to avocados. "Climatic changes are causing more and more problems. We saw it in Peru this year with the avocados, and I fear we're going to experience more of it in Mexico. Currently, the prices are incredibly high. Last season, we already had much less fruit available, but I expect that we will struggle with product availability next season."

For more information:
Rodolfo Meza
Aztec Fruits
Interleuvenlaan 62,
3001 Hevrelee, Belgium
+32 456 18 4982
[email protected]

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