New asparagus growers need to know where to go in advance. And the consolidated ones must make a drastic choice, according to the production costs and the potential GMO (gross marketable output).
"For several years, an organizational transformation of the companies has been going on - explains Aurenzo Bagioni, asparagus machine manufacturer - There are large companies with 200 or more hectares, and micro companies with less than one hectare. The first turn to the large-scale retail trade and have a definite price range; the latter make direct or local sales, with an average of 5-7 euros/kg".
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this transformation, with large companies turning on the industrial market and large retailers, and small companies on direct sales. Medium-sized companies (20-30 hectares) suffer the most, having the costs of a smaller company but the selling price of a large one, and therefore they struggle to make ends meet.
In the middle, Aurenzo Bagioni.
"In this situation - Bagioni says - my company for some years has focused its production of machines for the asparagus harvest on innovation and quality, leaving to others the production of low-tech, lower cost machines. When the market situation becomes difficult, it is necessary to get out of the usual price competition and invest in new technologies".
"Our research - which has had significant costs - has led to the introduction in recent years of the on-board computer, the Stop&Go and high-voltage lithium batteries; not to mention a forthcoming big novelty that we will present in 2021, of which we will give news on FreshPlaza in due course".
The question is: what advantage does the farm derive from investing in new technologies that could make the machines more complex and less reliable? The answer lies in examining the workforce available in the fields. This is usually unskilled labor, sometimes even improvised (especially in years like this one), who lack technological knowledge.
"It is necessary to provide the entrepreneur with a machine that is capable of self-management, that is to stop if there are dangers or malfunctions, so that the entrepreneur does not have to worry about its proper use and maintenance. This is not easy to do, because there is always a human factor to account for and because any innovation involves a period of trial and development. In this case, we have always shown ourselves to be responsible and serious, providing free assistance for our machines even after 5 years; as for the prototypes, we have always supported the client's will".
Bagioni concludes: "We continue to follow our path, which will involve obstacles and risks, but will allow us to offer the market an increasingly reliable product".
Bagioni Alfiero Snc
Via Bologna 100
Tel.: (+39) 0543 703993