The 2021 harvest of Peruvian asparagus is estimated at 370,000 tonnes. This is an increase of 5% compared to the previous season. In 2019, the asparagus harvest amounted to 367,000 tonnes. In 2020 yields fell 4% year-on-year due to a labour shortage during the harvest season, a result of the strict national lockdown imposed by the Peruvian government.
The harvested area in 2020 reached 32,000 hectares. The average yield is about 14 tonnes / ha, while the most efficient growers can yield up to 20 tonnes / ha. Average yields have grown dramatically over the past decade, thanks to the use of better technology, more efficient fertigation systems and a deeper understanding of the crop.
Most of the Peruvian asparagus comes from the same seed variety, UC157, F1. Roughly 40% of the asparagus harvest in Peru takes place between September and December. The mild temperatures and scarce rainfall make the Peruvian coastal region an ideal environment for asparagus cultivation. The dry climate prevents asparagus from entering a dormant stage, making Peru one of the few countries in the world where high-quality asparagus is harvested all year round. The regions of Ica and La Libertad are the main growing areas.
Peru has two different asparagus markets: green and white asparagus. Green asparagus, which makes up about 80% of the total yield, is packaged fresh in 5kg cartons or frozen for export to the United States, while white asparagus is processed in canned or jars and then exported to Europe. Peruvian fresh asparagus is mainly exported to the US (75%), followed by Spain, the UK and the Netherlands (each country accounts for 6%). Peruvian asparagus exports are expected to increase by 16% in 2021 to 138,000 tonnes.