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Netherlands - Persistent warm weather resulted in oversupply of asparagus

With Saint John’s Eve at hand, the end of the asparagus season is also looming again. For many growers of the traditional production it’s a season they’ll want to forget. The long, warm period resulted in an oversupply on the European market. Sjraar Hulsman of The Greenery looks back on the season.

“The greenhouse asparagus season went fairly well due to the late spring and early Easter. The growers with mini-tunnels received fair prices, particularly at first,” Sjraar says. “The sales of the production under black-and-white plastic, however, was much less successful. We had an exceptionally long warm period from mid-April, that constantly caused an oversupply on the European market. Day trading only started recovering last week. Since the start of week 24, prices have been on the rise. Auction prices are currently around 7 euro. This indicates there’s plenty of space at the beginning and end of the season.”

“It’s positive that we, in consultation with Dutch growers and retailers, managed to bring the product to the consumer’s attention as well as possible, by focusing on various customer groups. With steam packaging, stir-fry asparagus and vacuum-packed cooked asparagus, we’ve shown it’s really not difficult to prepare asparagus, and we’ve managed to reach future customers. This definitely advanced the sales in this channel, but day trading was much more difficult, unfortunately,” the asparagus salesman of The Greenery says.

Whether the current market situation will have consequences for the coming seasons is difficult to say, according to Sjraar. “Growing asparagus requires long-term planning. That’s why there won’t be a considerable immediate reduction in area. It can be wondered whether the Dutch area has any significance on the European market, in any case,” he says. “Last year was challenging as well, but it was cooler in the short period between weeks 18 and 19, and that immediately resulted in a price recovery.

For the Netherlands, it’s important that we’re known as supplier of high-quality product in plenty of large blocks. If there’s a shortage somewhere on the European market, people first come to the Dutch suppliers.”

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