Asparagus demand drop opens door for Peru’s avocados

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Andina

As demand for Peruvian asparagus faltered in the first half of 2009, the country’s leading agriculture industry group, Camposol, has been investing in avocado plantations.

"The drop in requests for asparagus, particularly from America, has been an opportunity to take a bet on avocados," Camposol chief executive officer Juan José Gal’Lino as quoted by The Packer.

He said the company is investing US$13.2 million to irrigate a further 1,853 acres for avocado production this year.

Camposol, which has been growing avocados for the past 10 years, currently has 3,545 acres under production.

The company’s most valuable crop, however, is asparagus, and, despite a slide in national exports earlier this year, Camposol hopes to increase export values by 9% in 2009.

Nationwide, the picture is not so bright. Peru’s asparagus exports for the first seven months of this year were US$81 million, said PromPeru, the country’s export commission. Peru’s year-round asparagus exports totaled US$450 million in 2008.

Peruvian avocado exports for the first seven months of the year were US$48 million, halfway to last year’s total of US$70.2 million, although the season will end in October.

Camposol exports avocados to France, Germany, England, Holland, Canada and Chile, for a total of US$140 million. The company may also consider exporting to the U.S.

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