Saxony: Sales problems for Saxony's asparagus farmers: Harvest curtailed

Asparagus enriches the plates in spring as a seasonal vegetable and is considered a delicacy by many.

Saxony: Sales problems for Saxony's asparagus farmers: Harvest curtailed

Asparagus enriches the plates in spring as a seasonal vegetable and is considered a delicacy by many. But this year the sale for Saxony's asparagus farmers is not going well. Some farms have therefore reduced the harvest.

Ostrau/Elsterheide (dpa/sn) - Halfway through the asparagus season, growers in Saxony are complaining about significant sales problems. "The harvest quantities and the quality are good," said the managing director of the Association of East German Asparagus Farmers, Frank Saalfeld, the German Press Agency. But the trade is buying fewer goods and is offering customers cheaper asparagus from abroad - for example from Greece and Morocco. This development can be observed almost nationwide and also affects the companies in Saxony. "That's why they took away areas from the harvest and had to send harvest workers home." Nevertheless, Saalfeld expects asparagus to be harvested in Saxony by June 24, albeit to a lesser extent.

According to his observations, many consumers try to save energy elsewhere in the face of price increases. That hits the local asparagus. The prices were at the previous year's level, sometimes below. The trend can also be felt at the sales stands. "The customers come to the stand, see what it costs and leave again." A number of companies have already dismantled their stands because they were no longer profitable. "Sales to end customers are going badly," stated the expert. It looks better for companies with their own gastronomy.

Asparagus farmers in the region confirm the assessments of the association. "The harvest is fine, but people save," said Mathias Schertenleib from the asparagus farm Schertenleib in Ostrava (district of Central Saxony). His farm grows asparagus on five and a half hectares and markets the vegetables directly. Because of the lower sales, he reduced production to about 75 percent. However, he does not want to complain, emphasized Schertenleib. There is a solid customer base who are loyal to the company.

The Bergener Landwirtschaftsgesellschaft in Elsterheide (Bautzen district) also stopped harvesting early due to sluggish sales in some areas. The asparagus plants could have developed well and the asparagus is very good, summed up managing director Roland Nuck. "Unfortunately, the sale doesn't really work." He also suspects that many people were looking for ways to save. Asparagus is considered a "luxury product" by some. His farm in the Lusatian Lake District grows the vegetables on 7.5 hectares. Nuck expects this year that the proceeds will be about a quarter lower overall.

Asparagus cultivation in Saxony has shrunk in recent years - a trend that, according to the association's managing director, Saalfeld, is likely to continue. While vegetables were still being grown on 324 hectares in this country in 2015, last year it was just under 188 hectares, according to figures from the State Statistical Office.

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