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Challenging costs at origin

Peru: Worldwide asparagus shortages driving prices up

There is currently a worldwide shortage of asparagus, as Peru, which is a great producer, has reduced its acreage for the crop in recent years. Other producers, such as South Africa or Australia, produce very low volumes, and even Japan grows increasingly lower amounts of asparagus. Within this context, the Peruvian company Danper Trujillo SAC, which produces the vegetable for fresh, frozen and canned consumption, has seen prices escalating, as well as production costs, which represents a challenge.

The firm, founded in 1994, controls around 6,000 hectares in Peru and employs approximately 7,000 people. It has seven processing plants and operates within a geographic range of 1,800 kilometres, resulting in very intense logistical activities.

Jorge Aranguri, director of Danper Trujillo SAC, explains that in Peru many hectares have been transformed for other crops, such as avocados, grapes or citrus, which entail long-term investments. Avocados, which ten years ago were a minor crop, are currently booming, with three times as much acreage.

This growth offers more option to agricultural entrepreneurs, and according to Jorge, the land inventory in Peru with the right surface, weather, water access and infrastructure is very limited, making it unlikely for the increase in the price of asparagus to lead to new large-scale crop conversions.

A great variety of products are grown at Danper's plantations, mainly asparagus, artichokes, peppers and new products such as avocados, grapes or mangoes. "We started with mangoes five years ago and we use them for canning. Grapes, from which we will obtain our first harvest this year, are intended for fresh consumption and avocados are for both fresh and frozen consumption," explains Jorge.

Asparagus, both green and white, represent 40% of the company's production. The great Peruvian window for export takes place between December and March, and the rest of the year, sales are mostly of the canned product. It owns plantations with the right weather conditions to be able to harvest them all year round. 

Regarding markets, Jorge affirms that "the United States barely consumes white asparagus, but as regards green asparagus, it purchases 40% of the canned production and more than 65% of that for fresh consumption, surpassing white asparagus in a 50 to 1 ratio. In Europe, white asparagus prices have increased, with a relatively long sales season. The European season experienced delays caused by the weather which made it possible to enter it with late shipments at good prices."

Danper's main plans include a 20% increase in asparagus production during the next five years and a doubling of its presence with grapes and avocados. "These products are already exported to markets such as Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia or New Zealand and we wish to strengthen our presence with grapes in other Asian markets, which are very demanding in terms of standards and are able to appreciate good quality," assures Jorge.

For its traditional products, like asparagus, artichokes and peppers, Danper has an integrated administration system which prioritises the needs and expectations of consumers, with strong policies for the development of its associates. Additionally, sustainability and reducing the environmental impact are also priorities for the firm, which promotes the rational use of the resources, especially water, with the implementation of drip irrigation systems.

The firm has numerous certification, such as HACCP, which received in 1998 (one of the first to receive it), ISO 9001, which obtained in 2000, BRC since 2004, USGAP since 2005 and, of course, GlobalGAP. "Another certification that we have is BASC, which guarantees that controls were applied to prevent contamination by bioterrorism or illegal substances, the ISO 14001 since 2007, which is environmental, and the OHSAS 18001, which certifies that all associates work in safe conditions.

"In 2012 we obtained our most recent certification, the SA8000; an international standard that ensures an ethical production that takes into account the rights of associates and suppliers; a certification which only Danper owns in Peru for its three categories: fresh, frozen and canned," affirms company's director.

In conclusion, Danper Trujillo SAC works to provide the market with sustainable products, with plenty of value added, easily traceable, and sending the message that behind the brand there are ethics, responsibility and commitment.

For more information:
Danper Trujillo S.A.C.
Jorge Aranguri (Director)

Publication date: 7/19/2013


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