The closure of European borders as a consequence of the spread of the coronavirus on the continent had a strong impact on Andalusian asparagus exports, which lost important destination markets, such as France, which received 30% of the asparagus grown in Andalusia, or Germany.
The sector has been severely affected by this situation, since the domestic market has had to absorb all the production and prices have fallen sharply. However, just ten days after the borders closed, France assumed that it had neither enough production, nor the capacity to generate it in record time, let alone pickers willing to go to the fields.
Many marketers had already closed the doors to this vegetable and many producers were left on their own; however, the agrarian transformation company Frupal, a Sevillian fruit and vegetable center with more than three decades of history, based between the municipalities of Dos Hermanas and Los Palacios, started to receive calls from foreign buyers because they needed the product again, allowing them to salvage a campaign that already seemed ruined.
The season is now expected to be over in about two weeks and Frupal estimates that the province's producers have obtained an average of between 1.5 and 1.8 Euro per kilo, which is encouraging, considering the circumstances. "We are not going to reach the 600,000 kilos that we had originally planned, but we are going to exceed 450,000 for sure," says its manager, Alonso Navarro.
In late March, the Union of Small Agricultural Producers and Ranchers of Andalusia (UPA) had called for help because the green asparagus sector was one of the most affected by the coronavirus crisis. Back then, the amount of orders dropped by 80% in the domestic market, and by the same or even more in the international market.