Peru asparagus is doing just fine, but exporters might want to check their rear view mirror.
The USDA FAS recently issued an annual report describing the state of the industry in Peru.
A few highlights from the report:
Asparagus production in Peru is expected to reach 360,000 MT in CY 2011, increasing 20,000 MT compared to the previous year. Favorable weather and more planted area will drive this increase. Production area is estimated to be 32,000 hectares in CY. Total asparagus exports in CY 2011 are expected at 210,000 MT, a 12% increase compared to the previous year, better prices in the international market explain this higher exports.
Peru produces asparagus for two different markets: green asparagus for the United States and white asparagus for the European market. Green asparagus, which is about 45% of total production, is sent fresh to the U.S. packed in 5 kilogram boxes, while white asparagus is processed then exported in cans or jars to Europe. Total asparagus exports are forecast to reach 210,000 MT in CY 2012. Peruvian fresh asparagus were exported mainly to the United States (72%), followed by the Netherlands, the U.K. and Spain with 11%, 7% and 5% respectively.
Peruvian producers usually begin exporting their crop to the United States market between mid June and September at prices ranging from $14 to $16. Some producers even try to hold as much of their crop as possible for Thanksgiving or Christmas when prices are the highest.
Despite an impending change in government leadership, all is apparently fairly rosy for Peru. However, U.S. Department of Agriculture trade statistics reveal that Peru’s volume market share of U.S. asparagus imports declined from 58% in 2006 to 51% in 2010. Meanwhile, Mexico’s volume share of U.S. imports gained from 40% in 2006 to 48% in 2010.
Even more troubling for Peruvian growers and exporters, Mexico share of import value has risen from 47% in 2006 to 52% in 2010. Mexico has moved in to the passing lane as the dominant import source for asparagus.