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Asparagus harvest 2023. Germany counts on workers from Poland. rates. “You have to bring pots, plates and cutlery yourself”

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This year, asparagus cultivation areas, mainly grown in the Brandenburg area, have shrunk. The offer of this “herald of spring on a plate” was limited during this year’s Easter – describes the portal of the “Welt” daily. Seasonal workers are most often Poles and Romanians – many job offers are still directed to them.

According to the RBB24 portal, the asparagus season in Brandenburg officially opened on Tuesday. The district farmers’ association Potsdam-Mittelmark, together with the Beelitzer Spargel association, therefore presented information on the situation in the industry, including – as they claim – “fair wages for seasonal workers”.

The reduction of cultivated areas is mainly due to the increase in costs incurred by growers. And higher asparagus prices, in turn, translate into a larger reserve of customers – writes “Welt”. In addition, this year’s beginning of spring (little heat and sun) meant that asparagus went to stores in small quantities before Easter. – The farms, however, count on a good harvest in this year’s season, which lasts until June – assessed the head of the association of asparagus breeders Juergen Jakobs.

German asparagus may disappear from the fields

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As “Welt” reminds, the German Farmers’ Association recently expressed concern that “German asparagus may one day disappear from the fields because of cheaper imports.” For the time being, it is a fact that Brandenburg’s cultivated area is shrinking. Some growers have announced the end of their breeding, switching to the cultivation of, for example, blueberries.

Jakobs also pointed out that 2022 was “rather bad” for the industry. – German asparagus left in stores. Concerned about the energy crisis, customers preferred to buy cheaper asparagus from abroad, he recalled.

According to data from the Federal Statistical Office, Brandenburg was the country’s third largest asparagus harvest last year with 18,700 tonnes, after Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia.

Asparagus prices

Prices this season may increase significantly due to higher production costs, including statutory increases minimum wage up to 12 euros per hour. “It’s going to hit business,” Jakobs said, pointing to a pay rise of up to 25 percent. – Greek or Spanish asparagus are cheaper to produce. But we’re trying to keep the old prices,” he added. The average price of high-quality asparagus is 12-15 euros per kilo.

Christian Goerke, a member of the Brandenburg left party in the Bundestag, points to the need for better protection for seasonal workers, most of whom work without health insurance. – The federal government promised to improve this situation as part of the coalition agreement – he recalled. However, so far nothing has happened in this regard.

Malte Voigts, an asparagus grower in Kremmen, reported that he sells asparagus at €6-16 depending on the species, but this is the price level of the previous year. “Voigts is trying to compensate for the increase in the minimum wage for its almost 250 seasonal workers from Poland and Romania for example, by increasing the productivity of crops and rejuvenating them for better yields in the fields.

German planters are looking for people willing to work

German planters, mainly through Internet portals, are still looking for people willing to work. There are also advertisements published directly in Polish. For example, the plantation Spargelhof Hesngens in Selfkant-Havert (North Rhine-Westphalia) describes the employment conditions as follows: “We work 6 days a week, usually from 5.30 to 12.00. 2-3 hours.”

Wages are paid once a month, but the employee has “an option to receive an advance payment once a week”. The salary is EUR 12 per hour, it can be increased by “good performance” – the grower assures and emphasizes that “free sickness insurance is concluded for the period of stay”. Remuneration can be paid into an account or in cash. “You have to organize transport to the company yourself. From Romania, we offer our own coach service” – points out Spargelhof Hesngens.

For the duration of your stay, accommodation is provided in multi-person rooms with shared toilets and showers. The cost of such accommodation is 77 euros per week. Catering is also done on your own. There is a communal kitchen at your disposal, but “you have to bring pots, plates and cutlery yourself” – the plantation notes and adds that “twice a week we take you shopping”.

When it comes to relaxing after work, the entrepreneur offers “WIFI, a football field, table tennis, a barbecue area and plenty of space for walking”, as well as a swimming pool 5 km away.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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