The Peruvian mango industry is facing a challenging season ahead as it grapples with the adverse effects of El Niño and the aftermath of Cyclone Yaku. Projections indicate that the 2023/24 season may witness a substantial reduction in mango export volumes, with up to 8,500 fewer export containers, a projection that reflects the 70% decline in production. This significant decline is primarily attributed to the disruptive impact of the El Niño phenomenon on mango flowering, signaling potential consequences for both domestic and international markets.
Peru's mango growers and exporters are confronting a critical situation in the wake of El Niño's unexpected impact on mango orchards. This year has been far from ordinary, with the effects of El Niño reshaping the landscape of mango cultivation in Peru. Conventional indicators such as daily minimum temperatures, cumulative low-temperature hours per day, month, or season, and established cultivation practices have proven inadequate in the face of these unforeseen challenges.
The region faced a double threat as Cyclone Yaku wreaked havoc in northern parts of the country. Heavy rains caused rivers to overflow, inundating and damaging large mango crops. This combined assault of heavy rains followed by scorching El Niño-induced temperatures has affected mango trees and flowering. The flowering stage is a pivotal moment in the mango growth cycle, where temperature plays a crucial role. Excessive heat during this period can reduce flowering and lower fruit yields. In this year's context, the unusual weather conditions have disrupted this delicate balance, potentially resulting in a diminished mango harvest.
The regions of Piura and Lambayeque, as well as Moro near Casma in Áncash, bore the brunt of these unfavorable conditions. Mango production in these areas suffered a significant reduction in flowering due to elevated temperatures, as reported by the Service for the Integral Rural Development of Peru (SEDIR).
Mango trees typically require a minimum temperature of 60°F for flowering and fruit production. However, temperatures soared above 69°F, rendering many efforts futile. In Piura, some farms experienced total losses, highlighting the severity of the situation. This is particularly concerning because Piura accounts for a substantial 80% of Peru's mango exports.
The ramifications of this crisis extend beyond the orchards. Last season saw the export of 12,000 containers of mangoes, but the outlook for the upcoming harvest is starkly different, with a projected export volume of only 3,682 containers.
Major destinations for Peruvian mangoes – including the Netherlands, the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK), Spain, Canada, South Korea, Belgium, Russia, Chile, France, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, and Switzerland – will feel the impact of this reduced supply. The Netherlands and the US alone account for 68% of total shipments.
The significantly lower volumes of expected mangoes will greatly affect the workforce that depends on the harvest season. With a deficit of 8,500 containers of mango this season, this income will be lost in the Peruvian economy. This will significantly affect low-income households that reside in productive regions since most of their yearly income comes from the mango campaign.
There is still no date to know when the harvest can be normalized. Despite warnings from farmers, the Peruvian Government still hasn’t taken action to guarantee the products widely consumed by Peruvians. The unfavorable weather will also affect avocados, blueberries, and grapes. Tridge's outlook is that crops will not meet either local or international demand. The impact on the mango will undoubtedly be very strong, affecting prices and creating opportunities for other mango suppliers.