The drought in Brazil is causing a worldwide shortage. In Europe and the United States, the supply is falling and prices are on the rise. This is a bad situation, given the growing popularity of the fruit. Central America is a major papaya production area. Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico are some of the main growers. In Ghana, drought conditions have been playing tricks on the producers. India is a major producer, but its fruit is mainly intended for the domestic market. Relative newcomers include Israel and Spain. In the latter, the sector foresees plenty of potential for this crop.
Drought disastrous for Brazil
Due to the drought caused by El Niño, shortages are expected in the supply of papayas from Brazil. Large farms are reporting serious losses in their production. The three main causes are heat, drought and the start of winter. One company reported a loss of up to 50% and much smaller calibres than usual. Besides, due to the fact that there has not been enough rainfall, the reservoirs have not been sufficiently replenished.
This situation has pushed papaya prices up in the domestic market. In some regions, the fruit has become three times more expensive than normal.
Belize is losing ground
The cultivation of Taining papayas has declined in recent years. Until three years ago, Belize was the largest supplier of this papaya variety to the US. After holding a leading position in the global papaya production over the last thirty years, the country is also against its own limits. There is little land available for the fruit’s cultivation and labour costs are higher than in neighbouring countries. Thereby, the Central American country has been losing ground.
Guatemala, the largest exporter
The country has made considerable investments in papaya cultivation, leaving Belize behind. Guatemala is now officially the largest exporter of this tropical fruit.