Asparagus is a product that is cultivated and consumed worldwide. By far the largest producer of asparagus is China with approximately 70,000 hectares. This is followed by Peru with about 25,000 hectares, Germany with about 22,000 hectares and Mexico has approximately 16,000 hectares, according to Limgroup, a breeding station for green and white asparagus that is active in all of the important cultivation areas in the world.
Largest asparagus exporter
Of the four countries mentioned above, Mexico’s area is increasing fastest. Mexican asparagus is mostly sent to the US. The increase of Mexican production competes with Peruvian production, which is also focused on export to the US. About 15 per cent of all asparagus cultivated worldwide comes from Peru. The country has grown to be the largest exporter of asparagus in the world.
Peruvian asparagus has two seasons. The first is from January to May/June, and the second season lasts from September until February. The highest productions are reached in Peru during these months. Asparagus is also available in the other months, but in smaller volumes. Much of the asparagus is cultivated on the coast and in the Ica Valley. This valley, about 300 kilometres south of the capital, Lima, has a very sunny climate with little precipitation. Grapes are also cultivated here.
The Granada province in the south of Spain is well-known for the cultivation of green asparagus. The asparagus area of Espárrago de Granada is increasing, approximately 100 hectares are planted annually, which amounts to about two million plants. The sales organisation expects to double production volume within four years. Normally, the asparagus production period lasts from mid-March to mid-June in Granada. The Dutch asparagus company Teboza has been active in the Spanish asparagus cultivation for a few years now. The company wants to offer an alternative for South American asparagus. Teboza says it is distinctive as regards flavour, flexibility and transportation distance. The Spanish asparagus are mostly sold on the Dutch, Belgian and German markets. Teboza hopes to expand this further in the coming years. The harvest is expected to start at the beginning of February.
Peru exports many asparagus to the US and Asia, but Europe is also an important sales market. The majority of asparagus imported throughout Europe, therefore, comes from Peru. “Peruvian asparagus is available year-round, and they just have good quality,” says Joerie Bol from Kraaijenveld. Production in Peru is still increasing, but is still too small to meet global demand.
Kraaijenveld imports both green and white asparagus, though the majority is green. “White asparagus is more difficult to cultivate,” Joerie says. The vegetable is becoming increasingly more popular in Europe, according to him. “There is much demand especially in the Christmas period and in spring, but sales are also gradually increasing outside of those periods.” The most important sales markets for the import and export company are Germany, the UK, Scandinavia and Asia. Kraaijenveld Groente en Fruit has its own import line in green asparagus. The brand Good for You was recently coupled to green, Peruvian asparagus.
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