South Africa has exported less from its traditional asparagus suppliers and there is a shortage of asparagus.
On the Johannesburg municipal market's website an extremely low level of asparagus is reported, today sold (in 200g punnets) at R140 (6.8 euros) per kilogram.
The traditional asparagus import season runs from the beginning of March until the end of August, almost all from Mexico and Peru.
This year lower volumes have been imported; the weakening of the Rand-Dollar exchange rate makes it an expensive product to land.
Local asparagus industry in transition
There are very few commercial asparagus growers left in South Africa and little re-investment in traditional areas like Ficksburg, FreshPlaza is told.
Meanwhile, new asparagus projects elsewhere in the Free State and even in neighbouring countries are getting underway.
Asparagus demands longterm investment: the plants attain maturity only in the third year and after fifteen years need to be replaced.
The time scale of asparagus growing might deter investors, as well as factors like labour costs but equally there is a good demand for asparagus in South Africa.