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Guatemalan melon volume has strong start in early 2010

by Tad Thompson | January 31, 2010
Guatemala was dominating the cantaloupe business in mid-January as Honduras and Costa Rica were nearing their seasonal increase in exports to the United States.

According to U.S. Department of Agriculture movement reports on Jan. 20, for the young year to date, arrivals in the United States of Guatemalan cantaloupes totaled 5,403 40,000-pound (truckload) units. This far exceeded Guatemala's melon volume of 2,165 truckloads by the same date a year ago.

Tampa, which includes Port Manatee, received 3,370 of these units. Fresh Quest and Del Monte, two of the United States' larger melon importers, are receiving melons at Port Manatee this winter. Tampa's Guatemalan melon import volume as of Jan. 20, 2009, was 1,210. Fresh Quest moved its operations to Port Manatee this year.

As of Jan. 20, 2010, Costa Rica had shipped 163 units of early-season cantaloupes to the United States. This was up from five 40-foot container equivalents a year ago.

Honduras' cantaloupe total for the United States as of Jan. 2010 was 288 containers, up from 275 for the first three weeks of 2009.

Guatemala was also dominating the early honeydew offshore deal, with 1,093 containers arriving in the United States by Jan. 20, 2010. This compared to 147 containers of Guatemalan honeydews by Jan. 20, 2009.

Costa Rica had shipped only 18 containers of honeydew to the United States in early 2010, while Honduras' numbers were at 84, up from 64 a year earlier.

For 2009, 1,247 truckloads of honeydew were shipped from Guatemala to the United States. Cantaloupe from Guatemala totaled 8,405 truckloads for all of the 2009 shipping season.

For 2009, Honduras exported a total of 773 containers of honeydew and 2,695 truckloads of cantaloupes.

Costa Rica exported 289 truckloads of honeydew and 2,039 units of cantaloupe to the United States in 2009.

(For more on offshore produce, see the Feb. 1, 2010, issue of The Produce News.)