Rain in the growing regions has affected supplies of hot peppers out of Mexico. Higher volume varieties such as Jalapeno and Serrano have seen sporadic production in recent weeks, leading to the tightening of supply. Growers say it is the difficulty in harvesting that is the main cause, but excess rain can also damage the product.
"Many regions in Mexico are in production right now, including Sinaloa, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Zacatecas," said one hot pepper grower. "There has been substantial rainfall in the past few weeks, making conditions very difficult for picking, leading to a drop in production. There is currently not much supply of Jalapeno and Serrano, among others. This is quite a typical scenario as we enter the rainy season. We can expect to see supplies fluctuate depending on the amount of rain at any one time."
As the rains bite into supply, this is causing prices for hot peppers to rise. Prices have risen sharply in the past few weeks, but again growers say this is typical for the time of year and prices can also drop as quickly if production were to pick up.
"The market has been up and down, but we have seen prices rise considerably in recent weeks," the source noted. "The market price for a 35lb box is now around $16.00, whereas a month ago, the same box was sitting at $9.00. It is normal for prices to fluctuate like this. It all depends on the amount of rain and the subsequent effect on production."
One aspect that hasn't changed much when it comes to hot peppers is the demand. Suppliers say that demand has held quite steady, which is prompting thoughts on how to help promote them.
"Demand has held at the same level for the last few years," he observed. "To help boost demand, recipes and other new ideas on how to use hot peppers can help."
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(photos by Otto Salgado & Mariitza Burgos, Agronutribysa, Guatemala)