An unusually warm winter will lead to a sharp fall in mango production in Ecuador for 2015/16. Bernardo Malo of Fundación Mango told Fruitnet that unseasonably high temperatures in July had interrupted blossoming and would lead to delays in harvesting as well as a significant drop in output.
“There is a lot of uncertainty about the impact of the higher temperatures on this season’s crop,” he said. “Up to the end of July temperatures were on average 30C higher than last year. Although it’s too early to give accurate forecasts we expect volumes to be down by at least 30 per cent compared to 2014.”
Malo added that the hope among producers was that the shortage would be compensated by good prices.
Last year Ecuador exported 10.7m 4kg cartons of mangoes, a 10 per cent fall on the 2013/14 total. Malo characterised the season as “one of ups and downs”. Although volumes were down overall, there was a four or five week period in which a lot of fruit was harvested and this pushed prices down. “Fortunately prices improved considerably from mid-December onwards when supplies started to drop,” he added.
Once again the bulk of exports (80 per cent) will be destined for the US and Malo sees limited potential to increase sendings to Europe due to the preference among consumers there for less fibrous varieties like Kent and Keitt. He does, however, believe there is an opportunity to increase exports to Mexico as the two countries have complementary production windows, but adds that tariff on Ecuadorean mangoes makes it less competitive.
“We are starting to develop a programme in Chile and have so far seen promising results, while in Asia we are making progress in opening up the Japanese and Chinese markets – particularly the latter where negotiations are at an advanced stage,” he says.
In terms of varieties there are no big changes with Tommy Atkins accounting for around 65 per cent of production, Kent for 20 per cent, Ataulfo 15 per cent and the remaining 5 per cent comprised of a mixture of other varieties.