International Asparagus Days, a successful first edition

Mon 29/10/2018 by Richard Wilkinson

The asparagus “niche” attracted 2,100 highly specialised visitors to Cesena Fiera, 38% of whom were from abroad

The 2018 edition of the International Asparagus Days, held at Cesena Fiera from 16 to 18 October and organised in collaboration with experts and consultants Luciano Trentini and Christian Befve, was a huge success. Consisting of four parts – exhibition, conferences, field tests and guided visits – it attracted the global asparagus industry to Cesena.

The two-day trade fair was attended by about 2,100 people, with a large number of visitors from abroad, accounting for 38% of the total. In addition, on the third day, about 200 professionals participated in the technical visits that took place in Emilia-Romagna and Veneto.

The highlight of this first edition of the event was the conference programme of the first two days. Four round tables and about 15 speakers from all over the world – Italy, China, France, Germany, Mexico, Peru and Switzerland – offered a comprehensive overview of the asparagus supply chain: these are the key elements of a successful event that has always welcomed a full audience and provided important information on the sector, from production to marketing.

Global asparagus production is on the rise

Luciano Trentini, an expert in the field, provided a general overview. In the last five years, on a global level, 58,270 hectares have been made available for production, going from 207,280 hectares in 2013 to 265,000 hectares in 2018. The most productive regions are Asia (104,000 hectares), followed by Europe (74,000 ha), North America (52,000 ha) and Latin America (27,000 ha). On a continental level, the growth rate over the last five years is particularly interesting, with Asia increasing its production area by 34,800 hectares, as well as North America (+17,400 ha) and Europe (+4,500 ha).

The world’s largest producer of asparagus is China with 93,000 hectares, followed by Mexico (29,000 ha), Germany (28,000 ha), Peru (22,000 ha), the USA (21,000 ha), Spain (15,000 ha), and Italy in seventh place with 9,500 hectares.

Asparagus consumption in Europe

Daria Lodi of CSO Italy presented a report on “Asparagus consumption in Italy and Europe”. The main asparagus producer in Europe is Germany (130,000 tonnes), which is also the main importer (24,953 tonnes in 2017) and consumer (85,000 tonnes).

As for Italy, asparagus consumption is on the rise and has reached a peak of more than 24,000 tonnes, a marked increase if we consider 19,000 tonnes were consumed in the year 2000. This figure is set to increase even further in 2018, taking into account that 22,895 tonnes were purchased from January to August.

Renzo Piraccini, President of Cesena Fiera, has analysed the trend and has a positive outlook for the future: ‘This first Italian edition of International Asparagus Days proves that a highly specialised vertical trade fair with international appeal is an extraordinary opportunity for the sector. The strengths of this event are its unique format, which combines four types of activities (exhibition, conferences, field tests and technical visits) and Cesena Fiera’s distinctive features, with its know-how and expertise thanks to Macfrut, along with the availability of a test field for field technologies.’

In the next few days, Cesena Fiera, Christian Befve, Luciano Trentini and the entire organisation team will be busy defining the future of this event, a possibility that has attracted much attention worldwide.

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