For Asparagus, the PGI label really makes a difference during campaigns like this one! by FreshPlaza

Danielle Chambaraud, Asperges du Blayais

“The PGI label really makes a difference during campaigns like this one!”

North of the Gironde, the current asparagus campaign is similar to the situation in the south of France. The campaign is described as early and homogeneous, with reasonable volumes and no great variation in production. The market is balanced and prices are firm. “The campaign began at the end of February. The few days of warm weather stimulated the growth of the asparagus, which came out very early this year. However, this was followed by a long period of rain and colder temperatures, which slowed down production again. As a result, the harvest is rather limited and I doubt there will be any large shoots this year,” explains Danielle Chambaraud, president of the Asparagus du Blayais association.

Prices struggle to hold up
The demand for asparagus increased at Easter, but there was a noticeable drop in the volumes sold compared to previous years. “There was no particular pressure at Easter time. Volumes were not very high, so supply adapted to the demand, and it was difficult to maintain prices. Sales were lower at Easter than in previous years, maybe due to the higher prices. Easter also came early this year, while it is usually celebrated at the heart of the asparagus season, so we were not able to offer the same prices as if Easter fell a couple weeks later.”

Consumers want the PGI label
It is precisely in this rather limited context of production that the PGI can make the difference. “In the past, with or without PGI, we have had to lower our prices when the market was saturated and volumes were considerable in all basins. But in the current context, the PGI can make all the difference. It reassures consumers and helps maintain prices. People are willing to pay the price as long as they get a quality product. Asparagus are now produced almost everywhere in France, so the PGI label is fundamental to the trade and to the promotion of asparagus. It is a guarantee of a particular identity and an asparagus with very little bitterness and a slightly sweeter taste.”

Expansion in line with the market
The asparagus from the Blayais region appeals to consumers thanks to its taste qualities, but it is also attracting growing interest from producers. “Our region is a wine-growing area. It is the region’s core business. Today, the wine industry is in crisis, especially in the Bordeaux region. And with over 70% of sand in the soil, asparagus has become the crop of choice for diversification in northern Gironde. As a result, over the last 3-4 years, we have been integrating more and more producers, although the volumes produced have not increased significantly, given the fragmented nature of our geographical area.”

Production growth must nevertheless be in line with the market situation. “We must not fall into the same trap as the wine industry. In other words, we must not over-plant and over-produce without taking into account the market’s capacity to absorb these volumes. We need to be reasonable and consistent with marketing. It is imperative that we respect all the rules of production and quality, to pay attention to the distribution circuit, to pricing and, of course, we must work together and stay united.”

For more information:
Danielle Chambaraud
Association IGP Asperges du Blayais


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