China coronavirus hurts Muse watermelon trade

LOCAL NEWS

Watermelon prices are dropping over coronavirus worries, leading to losses for Muse traders.
“Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, a ton of watermelons fetched K800,000. Now, the price has plummeted to K300,000 per ton,” according to Lin Tun Thit fruit depot in Muse.
“Recent outbreak of Coronavirus has hit China’s watermelon demand and led to a drastic reduction in price. Traders are suffering because of this. The prevailing watermelon price is quite different from the price quoted before the virus outbreak. Earlier, a 12-wheeled truck carrying watermelons was valued at K10 million. At present, the price has dropped to K4 million. We see huge losses on account of this,” said Daw Nway Nway from the Lin Tun fruit depot in Muse.
Some border trade zones have suspended trading owing to the coronavirus, said traders, adding they are concerned about the virus.
A Myanmar fruit body has also notified growers about the trade restriction, and asked them not to harvest fruits immediately and to consider market conditions first.
Watermelons and muskmelons top the list of fruits exported to China, and the export volume has been increasing significantly year over year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar currently exports around 800,000 tons of watermelons per year.
The volume of watermelon exports was estimated at 500,000 tons in the 2014-2015 financial year, more than 560,000 tons in the 2015-2016FY, and more than 170,000 tons in the 2018 mini-budget period (from April to September).
Watermelons and muskmelons are primarily grown in Mandalay and Sagaing regions and Shan State. Myanmar’s watermelons and muskmelons have grabbed a large market share in China. — Salai Vanro Than (IPRD) (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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