Asparagus season begins – concerns about the future among growers



After a bad year in 2022, asparagus growers in Germany have started the new season anxiously. The German Farmers Association warns that asparagus and strawberries could one day disappear from domestic fields due to cheap foreign imports.

“Last year, some areas of strawberries and asparagus were no longer picked,” said farm chief Joachim Rokwed when asked. “Due to the exorbitant increase in costs and cheap imports from abroad, production is simply no longer feasible.”

The harvest is expected to start at the end of March, says expert Claudio Glaser from Agrarmarkt-Information-Gesellschaft (AMI) in Bonn. “Before that, there will be no German asparagus on the market.”

The first asparagus spears of the season grow under foil in hot fields. “Whether it is worth it for our farmers depends on the one hand on crop yields and on the other hand on the market and price situation,” Rokwed said.

Last year, producer associations across Germany started the season in good spirits, along with hope for higher prices. Instead, there were sales problems because citizens, unsettled by the war in Ukraine and inflation, saved on groceries.

The area under the asparagus remains largely stable

Supermarket chains increasingly imported cheaper foreign asparagus. “If dumped merchandise ever gets back on the shelves again, it’s going to be tough,” said Rockweed. “Our companies are also burdened by the increased minimum wage of 12 euros in European competition. There is a real risk that asparagus and strawberry production in Germany will disappear as a result.”

Spaces in Germany were bustling last year Federal Statistical Office With a good area of ​​21,000 hectares. “We assume that the area of ​​asparagus cultivation will remain largely stable,” said Rokwed.

Harvesting does not begin at the same time everywhere, depending on the region and weather. Asparagus needs to be kept warm. “We assume there will be asparagus at Easter, but that will be decided in the next few weeks,” said Fred Eckhorst, managing director and spokesperson for the Asparagus and Blueberry Growers Association in Lower Saxony.

Presumably, space could shrink this year. “I think we’ll harvest 10 to 15 percent less acreage than last year,” Eckhorst said.

The Association of Asparagus and Strawberry Growers in Southern Germany expects the first quantities of regional asparagus to be sold before Easter.

Harvested about 110,300 tons of asparagus

According to the Federal Statistical Office, about 110,300 tons of asparagus were harvested by 1,465 companies in Germany last year. Lower Saxony was at the top of the list in Germany with about 26,100 tons, followed by Bavaria (21,100 tons) and North Rhine-Westphalia (19,300).

Because of rising labor costs, mechanization of the harvest is becoming more and more of a problem for the industry, said Niels Krauscher of the Chamber of Agriculture of Lower Saxony. According to Kraushaar, losses are still very high with the machines currently available, but more accurate harvesting robots are very expensive. So the Chamber is improving farming methods to make it easier to use machines.

note: This report is part of an automated service provided by the German Press Agency (dpa), which operates under strict journalistic rules. It is not edited or vetted by AZ Online Editors. Questions and hints please


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