“After COVID, we have faced many challenges, just like the rest of the industry,” said Rocío Aguilar, Manager of Exports to Europe and Australia at Altar Produce. “However, at the agronomic level, we continue with the same production volumes and the same growth plans.” The largest marketer of Mexican asparagus has extended and consolidated annual supplies to all of its export markets, thanks to the incorporation and growth of new production areas. “Our main season is from January to mid-April, but every year we are spreading to areas outside of Caborca, such as Baja California, which allows us to increase our shipments to Asia, Australia and Europe,” said Aguilar.
Demand dampened by global inflation
“People are trying to shop smartly. The markets that we previously saw as being quality-oriented now prioritise price when deciding what to buy, which has led some consumers to start replacing asparagus with other vegetables,” said Aguilar. In response, Altar Produce’s strategy for this season will focus on retail-oriented promotions and the development of a digital ecosystem aimed at promoting and repositioning asparagus in the market. “Although we know that we are already returning to normality in the food-service channel, retail is still the format that drives volumes. That is why we have to guide the industry to focus on that path.”
New products: dates and peppers
Altar Produce has also decided to diversify its product portfolio, with the addition of the Medjool date. “We have fields in the San Luis area in northern Mexico that had been producing asparagus for 18 years and we needed to reuse them,” said Aguilar. The initial programme of 25 hectares is to reach 200 hectares in the next 7 years. The company has also set up a new operation in Sinaloa for producing peppers, having started with this product in 2019 in the form of third-party production. Atar Produce now has 300ha of its own production.