According to recent reports the rain and landslides in the Inca Ica region of Peru have caused devastation and are seriously affecting their grape exports.
"It is a big country region and the damage from the rains and landslides is serious but localised," explains Rob Cullum from Pacific Produce. The difference in rainfall in a very short distance can be 1mm or 40mm. Some farms have been hit very hard and others not very much, and that is the same situation for the local population.
This structural damage is costly and immediate, the secondary impact for grapes will be the high humidity levels that bring increased shelf life issues such as moulds or splits.
Normally Rob would not receive a lot of Peruvian grapes at this time of year as most would go to other markets, right now they are concentrating on the mango production in the north of Peru.
The free trading mango market has been a disaster according to Rob. "Peru started very early this year and clashed with Brazil, also a lot of volume came at the same time, compounding the issue. Peru didn't manage the export very well; there are too many exporters and a huge volume of fruit in a short period of time.
"It will be a tough year for everyone but especially those exporters or growers that do not work programs and send produce to the open market – when it is short they make good money but conversely when it is long, like this year, they will suffer the market situation and, based on some of the prices that I have seen, we are talking about negative returns. Unfortunately the currency levels of both the £ and the € are not helping.
"Before the season started people were saying that it was going to be a big volume season, but then all the mangoes came at once. I think it will go from feast to famine, but prices will be slow to improve as people are in the mind-set that there is over-supply and that takes time to change."
The US market for mangoes is alright at the moment, it is the European market which has suffered the most because when the season starts early all the fruit goes to Europe. According to Rob, there are only so many pack-houses which are registered to pack for the US market and if they are not ready the fruit will be sent to Europe. This causes bottle- necks but there is no alternative as it can't be sent to the US. Combine this with the Brazilian fruit on the market and it is just too much fruit at one time and it floods the market.
The situation is changing fast on the ground now as all the main regions have finished already, so now we enter the late orchards where volumes are much lower.
"On the positive side," explains Rob. "Cheap mangoes will only help consumption which is good for the industry in the long run."