This year Taiwan experienced the worst drought in the last 100 years. The fruit reserves in many production areas declined and available irrigation water was reduced. In addition, many production areas suffered from plant diseases and insect pests. Taiwanese mangoes suffered from thrips. Agricultural scientists in Taiwan estimate that the mango production volume will be reduced by 50%. Fruit importers in Hong Kong expect the price of Taiwanese mangoes to rise by 20%-30%.
The volume of rainfall began to decline last year, and this year in spring the rain did not significantly increase. Data from the Ministry of Agriculture shows that the agricultural sector suffered a financial loss of 478 million New Taiwan Dollar [17.08 million USD] in the first month of spring. Chen Shu’en, professor of agricultural company management at the Pingdong University of Science and Technology, explained that the mango is the most affected by drought among all the agricultural products in Taiwan. Financial loss in the mango industry already reached 307 million NTD [10.97 million USD]. And the consequences will continue, which means financial loss will grow worse.
Professor Chen Shu’en pointed out that the lack of irrigation water is not the main culprit for financial loss in the mango industry, but rather the lack of water makes the mangoes more vulnerable for insect pests. This year the appearance of thrips disrupted the normal sequence of blossoming, pollination, and fruit growth. The production volume declined by around 50%. Most of the damage is found in mango plantations in Pingdong, but according to professor Chen Shu’en, there are many mango plantations in Tainan as well, including the home of the consumer-favorite ‘Aiwen mango’. However, the growth season in Tainan is slightly later than in Pingdong, that is why the damage is not as visible yet.
Mr. Yang, spokesperson for Hong Kong fruit retailer ‘Dr. Fruit’ explained that Taiwanese mangoes are already delayed by one month because of extreme drought. They will only enter the market in large volumes in early May or by the middle of the month. The production volume is estimated to decline by 30%-50% in comparison with last year. Last year the price of imported Aiwen mangoes was around 600 Hong Kong Dollar [77.24 USD] per box of 5 kg. This year the mango production volume declined and so the price is expected to go up by as much as 30%. The price of top-quality mangoes already exceeds 700 HKD [90.12 USD] per box of 5 kg.
According to Mr. Yang, Hong Kong customers love mangoes. In previous years the season would have already begun. Many customers are inquiring when the mangoes will arrive in large volumes. The Aiwen mangoes currently on the market are much smaller than last year and the main supply is delayed. Mr. Yang expects orders to come rolling in once the conditions improve.