Mango growers are urging customers to celebrate the summer season by buying more of the fruit, as abundant supply has driven down prices.
Across the country, an oversupply of mangoes has seen prices plummet — with the fruit as low as $1.90 each in some stores.
Brett Kelly, chief executive at Australian Mangoes, said the lower price was driven by an overlap of supplies from different regions. Mangoes are usually picked in the Northern Territory first in late November, followed by Queensland in mid-December, then to New South Wales and then Western Australia.
According to Kelly, this year’s NT harvest arrived late, while Queensland’s harvest came early. “You have a crossover of more mangoes hitting the markets at once, and that puts a little bit of pressure on the price,” he said.
“There will be a massive amount of volume over the next few months, so consumers will be able to get their hands on mangoes, and I know from past experience that they will be supporting Australian farmers – they are working so hard to produce the best mangoes in the world.”
Although it may seem like a bumper crop, Pia Piggott, associate horticultural analyst at RaboResearch, said it’s only up 14% from a year earlier.
“But the supply for the last two weeks, and the next two weeks, is 600,000 trays of mangoes a week,” Piggott said. “Last year there was only one week where there were 600,000 people.”
She said mangoes have already seen a decrease in production level since 2018.
“It’s not going to be the biggest mango season we’ve ever seen,” said Piggott. The 2018 season was a record, with a production of 83,000 tons of mangoes.
Since then there has been a decline in production due to weather conditions. Last year, in particular, we saw a significant drop in production volume.
“That’s what makes it seem like there’s a lot on offer – but this year won’t compare to 2018.”
Piggott said consumers will likely see lower prices for mangoes until the first week of January when supply begins to wane.
“After that, the supply will drop a lot and that process will probably drive the price up a little bit more,” she said.
While it is good news for consumers, farmers say they will struggle to make ends meet at the low price.
“There’s a lot of fruit that doesn’t even make it to market, and it ends up in juice markets, which is a very last resort because of the yield that farmers get,” said Paul Burke, CEO of NT Farmers.
“Our message will be: Go get your mango daiquiri tonight and support the little guys here.”
Woolworths did not report sales from the previous year, but a company spokesperson said customers were buying mangoes in huge numbers.
“Thanks to the abundance of high-quality, great-value mangoes this season, we’ve seen customers buy more than ever in recent weeks,” said the spokesperson.
“Last week, our customers took home a record number of mangoes, and demand is expected to grow as Christmas approaches.
“At the moment our growers are offering high quality mangoes and we are working with them to offer great prices to help more Australians enjoy mangoes this summer.”