Spargel scandal: Veg in Basel twice the price compared to Germany
With Spargelsaison already in full swing, people across Switzerland have been flocking to supermarkets to get their fix of the seasonal vegetable. However, those in Basel hoping to make their asparagus quiche on a budget were up in arms, after the local price monitor revealed that asparagus in Germany is often half the price compared to Switzerland.
Asparagus double the price in Switzerland compared to Germany
According to 20 Minuten, a kilo of asparagus currently costs around 26 Swiss francs at the local market in Basel. The price of other spring vegetables - which crucially cannot be grown in Switzerland in large numbers and are therefore usually imported from Spain or Italy - are roughly the same.
However, just 15 minutes drive away in Weil am Rhein, Baden-Württemberg, a kilo of green asparagus costs between 11 and 13 euros. Thanks to the parity of the euro with the franc, the cost of this dinner-table favourite is now double in Switzerland compared to the rest of Europe.
German and French farmers flogging bad asparagus
Local councillor and official leisure price monitor for Basel, André Auderset, told 20 Minuten that not only is the asparagus more expensive in Switzerland, but the veg is also “crooked and puny, the kind of asparagus that is really unpleasant to peel.” In a veg-based tirade, the man submitted a motion to the local authorities calling for the price of asparagus to be monitored further. "Shouldn't one speak about a rip-off on behalf of local asparagus lovers?" he told lawmakers.
Specifically, Auderset blamed the high prices on the deal made between the Swiss government, France and Germany, which allows farmers in the border regions of Baden and Alsace to import their products to Basel tax-free. He argued that despite the lack of taxes, farmers are taking advantage of “Swiss prices” to sell their worst produce at a heavy markup.
Basel price monitor calls for vegetable reform
In concluding his statement, the councillor said that the unfair tax arrangements grant "competitive advantages over the producers in the canton of Basel-Land." He called on the federal government to review whether they are able to stop this daylight spargel-robbery.