There are only a few weeks left to buy mangoes at the supermarket before the national harvest draws to a close.
While the official numbers will not be available for another few months, the mango industry is confident that it has produced its second biggest crop on record.
“It’s looking like we’ll produce in excess of 10 million trays,” Robert Gray said, chief executive of Australian Mango Industry Association.
“It’s still a little bit early to put the final number out with growers in Mareeba [Queensland] and Gin Gin [Western Australia] still picking, but it’s been another big crop and the Northern Territory and Queensland are vying to see who has produced the most fruit.”
Mango industry to eventually surpass 15 million trays
Last season the industry picked 10 million mango trays for the first time.
Producing two big crops in a row is not so much a sign of bumper yields, but of the increasing number of new mango plantations starting to mature and produce commercial quantities of fruit.
Mr Gray said a lot of mango trees had been planted across Australia in the last 10 years and the extra volumes were helping the industry.
“It means that mangoes are the premium summer fruit in the marketplace across the country,” he said.
“That scale we have now makes us important to consumers and our retail customers.
Mango marathon not profitable for all growers
Mr Gray admitted there had been weeks this season where growers struggled to make a profit.
“When we don’t get it right we get depressed prices and this year again we had examples of fruit in the market that exceeded what the demand was,” he said.
“So we didn’t get it perfect and every year we continue to strive to improve what we do.”
Growers in northern Queensland faced a glut of fruit hitting the pre-Christmas market brought on by an unprecedented heatwave in late November.
Mareeba growers, John and Deb Nucifora, started picking at the start of December and are still going 12 weeks later.
With about 20,000 trays of Brooks mangoes still to pack, Mr Nucifora said the finish line could not come soon enough.
“You get more of a sense of achievement when the season brings you top dollar,” he said.
Australia’s mango production is so geographically spread out these days, that mango lovers will not have to go without for long.
The first mangoes of the 2019/20 season will be picked in the NT in July/August.