Rains cut into papaya production

Papaya volumes will likely be lower than normal for the foreseeable future thanks to heavy rains in Central America, importers said.

Mother Nature has put a significant dent in papaya production, and things won’t likely return to normal for some time, said Bill Brindle, vice president of sales and marketing for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals LLC.

“Rains flooded our fields in Northern Belize during August and September,” Brindle said. “Currently we’re at 50% of normal volume. New fields coming should push volumes to promotable heights by March.”

Hurricanes in Mexico also have affected production there, said Homero Levy de Barros, president of Pompano Beach, Fla.-based HLB Specialties LLC. In mid-November, HLB also was sourcing papayas from Brazil, Belize and Guatemala.

Papaya markets were sluggish heading into Thanksgiving, a not-uncommon phenomenon, but that should change in early December, de Barros said.

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