Weather woes limit U.S. imports of Peruvian asparagus

From The Packer | 30 June 2023

Overview of asparagus from Peru in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on June 29, 2023. 

U.S. imports of Peruvian asparagus this season have suffered from unfavorable weather in growing regions, industry leaders say.

“The asparagus import industry has seen a month-over-month 40% decline in production,” the Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association said in a news release.

The forecast and anticipated arrivals into the U.S. will continue to be lower than expected for the next two to three months, according to the group, which discussed the asparagus industry’s 2023 production difficulties at the its June 22 board meeting in Miami, the release said.

Peru went over 40 years without a cyclone, but in early March 2023 Cyclone Yaku reached northern Peru and dumped a year’s worth of rainfall on some growing regions, the release said.

In addition, El Niño’s heavy rains have negatively affected asparagus production, harvest and logistics in the north, according to the release. Extreme precipitation has rendered about 40% or more of the fields to “regrowth” and delayed the harvest, according to the release. This weather phenomenon of heavy rains has destroyed roads and created mudslides and floods making transportation impossible, the release said.

El Niño weather conditions have increased growing temperatures to 80-95 F in some areas, well above historical average temperatures ranging from 65-70 F, the release said. High temperatures stress production and trigger lower-than-expected harvests.

The release said the Peruvian Asparagus Importers Association believes it will have a promising fourth quarter as production moves to the south, which has not been affected.

USDA statistics from 2022 show that Peru shipped asparagus to the U.S. in every month, with total shipments of 217 million pounds, second only to Mexico’s 361 million pounds among global asparagus suppliers to the U.S.

asparagus volumes by his 2

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

The USDA reports that through late June, U.S. imports of Peruvian asparagus were off nearly 40% compared with the same time a year ago.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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