Asparagus no longer profitable in Spanish province of Guadalajara

The president of the Association of Green Asparagus Producers of Guadalajara, Jaime Urbina, has lamented the fact that the cultivation of asparagus has ceased to be as highly profitable as it was years ago, given the strong expansion of the acreage in recent years and the amount of labor required. The market has simply become saturated.

At this time, with this year's harvesting campaign about to begin, the president of the Association has announced that, for the first time, some growers have abandoned the crop's cultivation. In just four years, the acreage had actually doubled, going from 1,000 to 2,000 hectares.

This provincial association was created approximately a year ago in order to defend the interests of a booming sector, but according to Urbina, now producers have to think twice before venturing into the sector, as the field's preparation is also a slow process and they need to be patient.

This year, Urbina expects a campaign with "a good volume and normal quality," but worse prices due to the growing number of hectares devoted to this crop, not only in the province, but in almost all of Spain.

Asparagus requires "a lot of labor; as a result, if the prices are low, it stops being profitable. Furthermore, it is a product that is harvested piece by piece, individually," Urbina added.

Also, finding laborers is a tough task. For the harvest, those employed are mostly immigrants, especially from the surroundings of Torre del Burgo, Guadalajara, where more than 80 percent of the population comes from other places.

Urbina has complained about the excessive number of work inspections carried out, given that asparagus are just a seasonal crop. In fact, there are fewer in other sectors that remain active all year round.

The president of this Association said that the quality of the green asparagus of Guadalajara is starting to be appreciated in other European countries, but has acknowledged that when the market price drops, it sometimes becomes impossible to compete. The president would therefore appreciate more institutional support and informative promotions.

Lastly, Urbina has been critical of large supermarkets, which despite having access to a local, quality product still choose to bring them from other places.

Source: Europa Press

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