Asparagus is one of the most trending vegetables worldwide – according to EastFruit, its consumption is growing rapidly, and its producers are making good profits. In particular, in the countries of Eastern Europe, the demand for asparagus is growing faster than its production, so the prices for asparagus are about 2-3 times higher there than in the European Union, where asparagus has long been a traditional spring product.
Nevertheless, producers in Uzbekistan and Central Asian countries ignored these trends for some reason, as in the case of blueberries. Therefore, the production and consumption of asparagus is not developed here, and consumers do not know what asparagus is.
It turns out that Uzbek farmers are losing the opportunity to earn very good money on growing this crop, which can bring much more profit than all other vegetables – it is the only outdoor vegetable sold at $ 6-10 per kg. Therefore, we will try here to assess the possible benefits of growing asparagus in Uzbekistan, both for consumption and for exports – there are many of them!
To assess the prospects for asparagus consumption in Uzbekistan, EastFruit conducted a non-representative survey to determine how familiar consumers are with asparagus. Mainly people with higher education who have been abroad, including in European countries, were questioned. However, even among them, only 67% know what asparagus is and 47% have eaten asparagus at least once.
Notable fact is that most of them liked asparagus. The taste of asparagus was rated four or five out of five by 69% of EastFruit respondents. Only 25% of them did not like asparagus at all, and 6% of the surveyed Uzbekistan residents rated the taste of asparagus at a C grade. Therefore, undoubtedly, this product is promising for the domestic market, which is very receptive.
Many of those Uzbek consumers who liked asparagus already buy it in Uzbekistan, but frozen. For example, online delivery Lebazar offers frozen asparagus under the Russian brand Kruzhevo Vkusa at 90 thousand sums, which is equivalent to $8.5 per 400 grams or $21.3 per kg. Most likely, this frozen asparagus was imported from China to Russia, packed there and exported to Uzbekistan, as Russia imports bulk frozen asparagus from China.
For comparison, the current prices for frozen asparagus in Ukraine are around $10 per kg, while the average retail price for fresh asparagus in the high season is around $6-8 per kg. In the EU countries, where asparagus is actively consumed and has been growing for a long time and in large quantities, retail prices for asparagus in the high season fluctuate in the range of $4-6 per kg.
However, prices in Russia are higher than in Ukraine or the EU, because local consumption is increasing and asparagus production is underdeveloped. Accordingly, this is a good news for Uzbekistan, which will be able to add another product to its exports.