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Behind Spain and the Netherlands

Italy: Third largest asparagus exporter in Europe

Shipments to foreign countries continue to grow, a testament to the increasing popularity of asparagus in the past few years.
In 2016, total asparagus exports exceeded 8,500 tons, 40% more than in the previous season. 

The value reached almost €29 million, 50% more than in 2015, also thanks to an average price of €3.40/kg, among the highest of the decade.

Italy therefore occupies the third place in Europe among asparagus exporters, behind Spain and the Netherlands. 

Main destinations
Germany remains the main outlet market, despite being the leading European producer with 20,000 cultivated hectares. In 2016, Italy shipped over 3,200 tons of produce to this country, i.e. 38% of the total. 

Austria occupies the second place with almost 1,500 tons, 17% of the total volume and a 33% increase on 2015.

In addition to those mentioned above, the first 10 destinations all absorbed larger volumes compared to the previous season. Good performances were also registered for Sweden, Switzerland, France and UK, while the volumes sent to Denmark were rather stable.

Asparagus imports
In 2016, Italy imported limited quantities of foreign produce: with little less than 3,900 tons, imports dropped by 23% compared to 2015 and by 5% below the 2012-2014 average. 

With almost €14.7 million, the total value dropped by 20% on the previous year, while average prices (€3.78/kg) were higher than those recently recorded. 

Foreign suppliers show opposing trends compared to 2015. The significant drop in imports from Spain, mainly due to the low supply at the start of the season (below 1,500 tons, i.e. -27% than 2015) is rather important, especially since Spain is the leading asparagus supplier in the country.

There was an increase in the produce from Greece (12% of the total) and Holland (15% of the total), while quantities coming from France dropped. 

The counterseasonal supplies from Peru and Mexico were also lower compared to the past few years. 

Consumption is rather good. The GfK panel monitoring purchases for domestic consumption assessed a 13% increase with 23,000 tons. This positive trend can be confirmed also for the medium term, thanks to a 19% increased compared to 2012.

Start of the 2017 season
Harvesting started a few weeks ago for greenhouses in Campania, Lazio and Veneto. Harvesting in Puglia should start this week. Prices are rather interesting, after an initial phase, characterised by very high prices. 

There seems to be an increase in cultivated areas in Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Lazio and Puglia. Crops remain stable in Campania. There are around 10,000 hectares dedicated to asparagus cultivation in Italy (CSO Italy estimate).

Source: CSO for FreshPlaza

Publication date: 3/20/2017


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