Agrokasa holds first place in the ranking of Peruvian export companies for fresh or refrigerated green asparagus. According to ADEX, the Association of Peruvian Exporters, last season the company was responsible for 22.1% of all its country’s fresh green asparagus exports. José Chlimper, the President of Agrokasa told Fruit Toady Euromagazine that asparagus sales last season, ending on 28th February, reached a net value of 25 million dollars. Asparagus represents 71% of total sales for the Peruvian company and they only work with fresh produce. According to Chlimper, “We believe that we have to be specialised in one line of products and in control of all the variables in the chain to guarantee quality and service to our business partners. We are ready to respond to diverse presentation formats, packaging and material for our clients in 23 countries.”
Agrokasa’s products can be found on five continents. They have a very broad knowledge of different markets. “While the U.S. prefers standard size, Spain prefers extra-large or jumbo. Each market views size differently. For example, there is a sector in the U.K. which prizes the short tips of the small size”.
As for its competitors, Chlimper sees them really more as associates: “In Peru, Spain, Mexico and the U.S., to mention the most important world producers, we have associates not competitors. It is only as a united front of asparagus producers that we will get the best from end consumers.” As far as the dreaded competitor China is concerned, the President of Agrokasa affirms that it will not affect growers of fresh asparagus: “China still doesn’t have the necessary logistics to compete in the world market of fresh produce. For some weeks of the year we export fresh asparagus to China.”
When it comes to the Spanish asparagus sector, Chlimper believes that instead of competing they should be joining forces. “With global climate change, the starting and finishing dates of your season are increasingly less certain as are its yield. Having Peru as a partner to fill the gaps which occur, strengthens a traditional Spanish brand which can hold its ground in the market”.
Agrokasa’s future plans include maintaining its lead in exports of fresh asparagus and to keep on growing. “In the next four years we hope to double our volume of asparagus exports. By the end of 2006 we will have more than double the area that we had at the end of 2005 and we will have a second packing plant similar in terms of size and technology to the one we have at present.”
At the end of 2005, Agrokasa had 850 hectares of asparagus and 375 of grape. “In order to satisfy our clients we have had to acquire a new estate with 800 hectares of asparagus and we are going to plant a further 180 and 380 hectares of avocados.”