The production of Asparagus
Asparagus is cultivated in 60 countries around the world, with the climate ranging from the cool temperate to tropical, as asparagus is a plant that easily adapts to all kind of weather and processing. In 2010 the total area used for the production of asparagus and the processing of asparagus was about 216,000 hectares, with production of asparagus of approximately 1,386,000 tonnes.
Worldwide, the leading producer of asparagus country was China, with over 6,000,000 tons of produced asparagus representing the 88% (average 2006-2010) of the total production. Following, the largest producer of asparagus was Peru with 4% of the total production of asparagus and finally Germany, Europe's largest producer of asparagus, with a total production of asparagus of 1.3%.
In Europe, the cultivation of asparagus (data from 2008) takes place on about 61,000 hectares of land, the 75% of which was assigned to the production of white shoots and the 25% to the production of green shoots. We do not take into considaration here the cultivation of purple asparagus, because it is a rather niche production of asparagus, that takes place exclusively in Italy. Italy is ranked 8th, with an average total production of asparagus of 36,000 tons: it represents the 0.5% of global production. Recently (2006-2010), the trend in Italy has shown a significant decline, of 23%, in the average production of asparagus, which has caused much concern to the producers of white asparagus, to the producers of green asparagus, to the producers of purple asparagus, the fruit and vegetable farms that produce asparagus, companies that deal with the trade of white asparagus and the trade of green asparagus, the retailers of white asparagus, the retailers of green asparagus, the retailers of purple asparagus, the importers of asparagus, the exporters of asparagus, wholesalers of asparagus and companies that deal with the processing of asparagus for industry and 4th range, as well as with the packaging of asparagus and of 4th range asparagus
Among the major producers of white asparagus and producers of green asparagus in Europe, stand out Germany, which holds the record for the European production of asparagus, with a cultivated area of 21,693 hectares and a production of 94,000 tons of asparagus, Spain, with 9,500 cultivated hectares and a production of asparagus of 36,000 tons, and Italy, which is the third major producer of asparagus in Europe, with 5,500 cultivated hectares and a production of asparagus of 36,000 tons (Data from Euroasper 2008). However, Italy ranks first for the production of green asparagus, which alone represents about the 80% of the total cultivation of asparagus . Furthermore, the Italian production of asparagus is almost entirely directed to the fresh consumption on the domestic fruit and vegetable market
France produces white asparagus, but some years ago a flood destroyed about 4,000 hectares of asparagus cultivations in Camargue, which is why the French production of asparagus fell into a crisis and never got it over, with scarce and declining performances in the production trend 2000-2010.
Greece received over the Eighties and Nineties a strong impulse from German importers of asparagus, to produce white asparagus to be sent to Germany: the Greek producers of asparagus have invested up to 9,000 hectares for the cultivation of asparagus , of which the 95% for the production of white asparagus. This has not produced the results expected by Greece, as they chose the wrong German hybrid variety for white asparagus, suitable for the cold-temperate German climate,but totally unfit for the hot-arid climate of Greek Macedonia.
Spain, unlike Greece directed the cultivation of asparagus to hybrids more suitable to the Iberian pedoclimatic environment and engaged in the production of green asparagus for Andalusia and Estremadura and in the production of white asparagus in Navarre. Despite these improvements, however, Spain is experiencing a substantial loss of areas cultivated with asparagus and a rather low production per hectare, 4-4,5 t/ha, so that each year the production steadily declines: from the 54,600 milion tons of 2004 to the 47,400 million tons of 2009.
High level comperitors in the production of asparagus begin to be, on the other hand, some countries of Eastern Europe: Hungary, first of all, ad then Bulgary are increasing year after year the area cultivated with asparagus, green asparagus above all, and thanks to low prices and good quality, begin to export in Western Europen, particularly in Germany. There are more and more farms in these areas that dedicated to the import of asparagus and to the export of asparagus.
All European countries, however, are experiencing difficulties in competing with China and Peru regarding the production of asparagus, because of the high costs of production in Europe; China e Peru, in fact, are gradually having a high success in the production of asparagus: good climate conditions and increasing in the area cultivated for the production of asparagus suggest that these countries will increase more and more their activities and their farms for the processing of asparagus , the trade of asparagus and the sale of asparagus in the world. In particular, Peru produces asparagus for two different international fruit and vegetable markets: produces green asparagus for the United States that, alone, import the 45% of the total import of asparagus , and white asparagus for the European fruit and vegetable market. The production of asparagus is also widespread in Asia: more than the 70% of the world production of asparagus, approximately 2.3 million tons in 2010, comes in fact from China.