Over the last five years (2017 to 2021), Peruvian exports of fresh asparagus increased by 18.4% in volume, from 23,082,591 to 27,329,252 boxes (5 kilograms each). In this same period, however, their FOB value decreased by 20%, from $505,100,000 to $404,048,452.
The director of the Peruvian Institute of Asparagus and Vegetables (IPEH), Jose Antonio Castro, said that this contraction in value was due to the various logistical and sanitary difficulties that the sector has faced, among other problems, and strong competition from Mexico.
The United States is the main destination for Peruvian asparagus and requires the asparagus to be fumigated, which generates less added value. Moreover, it is a market where there is greater competition with Mexico.
“The only way to improve results and returns for producers is to maintain more distant markets, with greater added value and better foreign exchange returns. However, we must have reliable sanitary bases, such as certification field, packing and shipping, or we will barely be able to control the pests that affect the vegetable,” Castro said.
“We are aware that in the current situation, we are in competition with other more profitable crops. We also know that we are facing labor problems, increasing production costs, problems of logistics, that the crops are getting old and, above all, that we have to deal with The asparagus sector is under very great pressure and I think that many producers will grow a different product when they have to replace their asparagus crops because the seedlings are too old,” he said.
Eliminate the fumigation of asparagus to enter the United States; the change needed in the industry
The president of IPEH, Juan José Gal´Lino, pointed out that asparagus has opened the door to other agro-export products such as mangoes, grapes, citrus fruits, avocados and, recently, blueberries . “Asparagus was the product that led the dynamic growth of Peru’s agri-food exports, but today it is failing. »
Juan José Gal’Lino said that SENASA and IPEH had asked the United States to eliminate fumigation as a requirement for Peru to export its asparagus to this market and to change it to certifications. We hope to achieve this goal within a year, he added. Today, the decision is in the hands of the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).