Supplies of imported asparagus to tighten up in North America

Imported supplies of asparagus are at healthy levels, for now.

“Right now supplies are good. We’re in the backside of the Peruvian peak and the Mexican fall peak,” says Walter Yager of Miami, Fl.-based Alpine Fresh, Inc. He notes supplies will likely be good throughout November, though December will be a challenge. “In December now you have no production other than Peru and a little bit coming out of Mexico. So the whole global marketplace is competing for the limited amount of supply,” he says. “Whereas right now you have production finishing up in New Zealand, Australia, Peru and Mexico. In another three to four weeks that’ll all be gone and we’ll be down to only Peru and a bit out of Mexico.”

Lessened supply 
Overall, right now supplies are totalling up to be slightly less than last year—approximately 10 per cent. “While this year out of Mexico there was slightly more, out of Peru there was slightly less,” Yager says. “In Peru, there are just different challenges from logistical challenges to some older fields cycling out and El Nino affecting the farms a little bit.”

Demand meanwhile is picking back up for asparagus, particularly as it’s experiencing the holiday climb. “There were supply issues in September that lead to a high market which in turn lead to raised prices, very slow demand and a bad market,” says Yager. “But now we’re getting back to normal.”

Slow price climb
Pricing meanwhile is starting to pick up as well. “I anticipate the FOBs will keep creeping up but not see a big spike,” says Yager. “Then we think they’re going to stay up past Thanksgiving, so the mid to low-20 range. They’ll stay there because supplies will continue to fall.”

Looking ahead, Yager does anticipate some logistic challenges come December as well in Peru. “There’s a shortage of planes and although right now we’re not feeling it, we think in December there’s going to be a major shortage of lift coming out of Peru when we get into the holiday package season,” he says. “As that starts to ramp up, planes might be sneaking away.”

For more information:
Walter Yager
Alpine Fresh
Tel: +1-(305) 594-9117

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