Volume shipped so far this season is down 80 per cent due to effects of El Niño

Peruvian mangoes

Tight mango supply has led to soaring prices on the UK and European markets. The high temperatures caused by El Niño have slashed production in Peru and caused a sharp drop in exports. Shipments during the 2023/24 season, which got underway last September, are down 80 per cent compared to the same period last season at 19,159 tonnes according to Fresh Fruit Peru.

While stable demand and shorter supply should result in higher prices, the increase will not be sufficient to compensate for the fall in volume, the consultancy said.

During the first week of this year, Peruvian mangoes were shipped to 24 markets, the biggest being the US (63 per cent), Netherlands (17 per cent) and Spain (4 per cent).

Ian Crispin of leading UK importer Pacific Produce, who has just returned from Peru, told Fruitnet that it is proving to be a very complicated season, not just for the company but for the entire country.

“The huge reduction in production is causing all sorts of knock-on effects. Our volumes are fairly good compared to the overall figures, some of our main farms have seen, maybe less than 50 per cent of their crop affected, so we still have some decent volumes coming into Europe and are managing to stand by our strategic partners,” he said.

“But I know other exporters are worse affected and it has been a real struggle – especially in the early weeks – not just with volumes but also finding the correct sizes to match retails requirements.”

As a result, Crispin said prices are more than double what we’d see in a normal season. He predicted that supply would remain tight until the end of the season. “This looks to be maybe a month ahead of its usual date too, creating another headache while the markets wait for West African season to start,” he said.

Industry association Promango warned that if the high temperatures continue, this could impact the 2024/25 season.

However, Crispin was more optimistic, noting that the lack of fruit this year could mean a bumper crop next year. “Opinions differ a little between growers, some are anticipating a normal season next year while others expect a huge crop,” he said. “With the trees having come under little stress this year they will be full of energy and ready to go next time around…. weather permitting of course!”