The mango season in the Far North has kicked-off early but production of the region`s popular Kensington Pride is down by a third on last year`s crop. Growers in the Mareeba and Dimbulah are picking weeks earlier than normal, which has thrown up a mystery to farmers as to why tress have come on so early. Mareeba District Fruit and Growers Association chairman Joe Moro said it was `very unusual` for trees to come on so early.
He said while the region had an early cold snap, which brought on flowering, it had happened in other years but fruit had not come on in early November. `Dimbulah started in early November and it usually starts in late November and Mareeba normally starts in December and some farmers were picking in mid-November.`
Mr Moro said quality was looking excellent and consumers in the Far North will be able to enjoy prime produce up until February.
`The crop is very low this year but the quality is good,`` he said. `Prices are fairly high and the market was last week selling fruit for $30-$40 a tray for good firsts but that has come down a bit. `But while the prices is good production is down so farmers are not necessarily going to do well.`` Mr Moro said because of the low volumes of Kensington Pride and despite other varieties such as Calypso, Honey Gold Pearl and Keats were on track for a decent harvest very little product would be processed.
He said the majority of the region`s product would be sold into the fresh fruit market.