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Central American Produce commodities enjoy success

by Tad Thompson | January 09, 2011
All aspects of the offshore deal looked positive for Central American Produce Inc. on Jan. 20.

Fran Torigian, the director of sales and marketing for the Pompano Beach, FL- based firm, said of the Central American melon deal, "This is the time of the year for everybody to be in peak volume. Guatemala is going, Costa Rica is going and Honduras is going. This is the peak period for all shippers, including our company." Mr. Torigian said that melon “quality, overall, of the whole industry is very good. We have good weather in all growing areas now. We are past a wet summer and fall.” Temperatures in Central America are ideal, he said, “and rain is at a minimum, especially in Honduras and Guatemala, where it is the dry season. It is all positive.”

Melon prices through December and up until Jan. 20 “have been very good up to this point,” he continued. “This is a contrast to last year when the industry struggled [in December 2009] and in early January. This year, as a group, we are collectively beyond that hurdle. There is not necessarily less fruit, but retail promotions are keeping this thing rolling. It is very positive so far. We are very happy as melon marketers, growers and shippers on the arrivals. They are all good. The fruit quality is great. With the fruit quality and nice f.o.b. prices, it keeps a smile on everybody's face.”

As for other products on Central American’s import list, Mr. Torigian said, “At this point, there is a nice vegetable run out of Guatemala, from the highlands outside Guatemala City.”

For Central American Produce this involves radishes, green onions, leeks and radicchio. All of these commodities have grown in “great weather” and f.o.b. prices that are strong “in part because the freeze situation in Florida is spiking prices,” he said. “So, there is a nice demand. Unfortunately for those with weather issues, other areas are able to be recipients of nice values.”

Additionally, Mr. Torigian noted that his firm has enjoyed “exceptionally good prices this year on mangos to this point. They are higher than the industry has seen in a couple years.” The Peruvian mango crop “looks very nice” and will continue until new areas seasonally enter the deal, he said.