Conditions in the Mexican watermelon regions continue to be smooth. The Central Gulf of Mexico part of the country is hosting the main growing areas for this time of year and weather has not affected any of the crops.
"Our crops are currently being grown in two places, in Tamaulipas and Veracruz," said Jorge Clouthier a farmer from Tampico. "Both the conventional seedless as well as the mini watermelons are in production here now until late April. Weather conditions have been favorable and we have not seen any extreme weather events in the region."
North American demand for watermelons is lower at this time of the year compared to spring/summer months, and growers have moderated volume accordingly. "Volume is much less at this time of year," Clouthier explained. "This is by design for two reasons. One is that demand is lower during the northern winter. We also see more competition from other growing regions at this time of year. As a point of comparison, we are currently doing 3 - 4 truckloads a week. In spring and fall, however, we can sometimes do that in a day, when overall production jumps to 12 - 18 loads a week", all his export production goes thru McAllen, TX. and goes as far as NY area.
Clouthier also said the market has been generally favorable. It has fluctuated, however the market is moving with good fruit and demand in the pipeline. "This year, the market has been satisfactory," he said. "It has had its ups and downs but overall it has been solid and growers are making good returns on high quality fruit. The market on the mini watermelons has taken a spike over last year."
During the early part of this year, freight rates in both Mexico and the United States skyrocketed, resulting in many growers struggling to meet costs. The effects included economic losses as well as produce being left on the ground or abandoned in warehouses, becoming cost prohibitive to transport to the market. However, rates have since come back down to more normal levels, although still higher than they were before the spike.
"We were fortunate with the watermelons, as they have a more stable shelf life and there was the option to sit on them," he continued. "This was unlike other commodities like tomatoes that have a color profile to stay in front of. Overall, the situation has settled now and this is beneficial for everyone." For more information on how can you expand or enhance your Agribusiness Value Chain from or to Latin America, ask FGH´s International Agribusiness, Latin America's leading Agribusiness Consulting firm