500 watermelon trucks stuck in border amid trade suspension

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Trucks seen at the 105-mile trade zone in Muse, northern Shan State. Photo:Myo Win Tun/ Htet Myat

The flow of goods came to a halt in the Muse 105th zone on the morning of 1 February 2021. About 500 trucks of watermelons are stuck in border areas amidst trade suspension. The exporters expect the regular trade at the soonest, especially during high demand season by China, traders from Muse stressed.  According to Muse Fruit Wholesale Centre, as Chinese New Year is approaching, watermelons and muskmelons demand rising in recent days. In January-end, a watermelon fetched up to 7,000 Yuan per tonne, and the growers received a handsome profit. The melon price hit a seven-year record high. Nevertheless, the price is fluctuating depending on the political climate and market demand at present.
About 300 trucks of watermelon and muskmelons were earlier traded a day. This year, the growers raised the concerns over the melon market amid the COVID-19 crisis. Consequently, the number of melon growers sharply fell, and so, the acreage did. Only 50-60 trucks enter the Muse market every day during the pandemic. The market is expected to remain more robust as the demand exceeds the supply, Myanmar Watermelon and Muskmelon Producers and Exporters Association stated.
During the previous financial year, the growers and the traders suffered the loss due to the price instability and transportation difficulties triggered by the COVID-19. Myanmar’s watermelon market earlier relied only on China. Myanmar shipped 45 tonnes of seedless watermelon to Dubai market in the past two months, the association stated.
After the country achieves success on the Dubai market, Myanmar plans to expand its market to Hong Kong SAR, the UAE and Qatar, the association stated. Myanmar yearly exports over 800,000 tonnes of watermelon and about 150,000 tonnes of muskmelons to China, the association stated.—Ko Htet (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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