New trade agreements with India and the European Union finalized this summer promise to further increase exports to markets other than the U.S.
Peru’s exports of asparagus increased more than 160% in the past decade, according to the country’s Ministry of Trade and Tourism, with shipments going to 54 countries.
Walter Yager, East Coast chairman of the Miami-based Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association, said just a few years ago the U.S. was receiving about 90% of the asparagus crop grown in Peru. Now he estimates only 60% of the Peruvian asparagus finds its way to U.S. stores.
“Asparagus has become a global commodity,” Yager said. “We will feel the impact over the long term of India coming into the deal.”
Though its 1.3 billion people make India seem like a market with huge potential, the relatively low income of most of the population has industry insiders predicting asparagus will initially be confined to high-end and niche sectors, such as restaurants catering to Western tourists.
That is not the case, however with the EU, according to Peru’s minister of trade and tourism, Luis Silva. In a statement on June 26 from Brussels, where he signed an agreement with the EU and Columbia, Silva said Peru’s overall trade with the EU has increased fivefold in the past 10 years.
Silva said in the statement that the agreement with the EU would be more significant to Peru than previous deals signed with the U.S. and China.
Asian deals should not be ignored when figuring the Peruvian asparagus equation, however.
William Arteaga, head of the Peru commission for exports and tourism known as PromPeru, told LatinTrade.com that Japan is Peru’s most promising Asian market. The tiny island nation bought $9 million of Peruvian asparagus in 2011, which was a 58% increase compared to 2010. That growth is expected to continue.
Tracy Wood, salesman in Greencastle, Pa.-based Keystone Fruit Marketing Inc.’s sales office in Fort Pierce, Fla., said the increasing global popularity of Peru’s asparagus has been something he’s been watching for the past three or four years.
“I haven’t heard much about the India deal yet,” Wood said. “But Peru’s volume has been shifting, and it looks like it will continue to shift.”