By Nyein Nyein
In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Yangon Region government is focusing on creating a local market in the region for watermelons and muskmelons that cannot be exported to China, said U Naing Win, chair of the Myanmar Watermelon and Muskmelon Exporters and Producers Association.
The authorities have temporarily designated four warehouses of Ministry of Commerce in Satsan, Yangon and 1.5 acres of land near the Tamway chicken and duck market as points of sale for watermelons and muskmelons.
If growers want to sell the fruits at the Myanmar Ethnics Culture Festival, the regional government will arrange a space for them. The government is also planning to create more points of sale in Danyingon and other local markets for the fruits.
“The Myanmar Watermelon and Muskmelon Exporters and Producers Association has already invited growers to come and sell the fruits. China’s border market is likely to reopen on 8 or 10 February. Growers are uncertain about the market and they are concerned about the decay of fruits. If there is no trade possibility in China’s border market, they will surely come to Yangon,” said U Naing Win.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, exports of watermelons and muskmelons to China have dropped, leading to prices plunging by half, according to the association. “The losses have been increasing. At this time last year, 700 trucks of watermelons were seen at Muse gate. Now, trade is not going well: only 30-50 trucks are entering the border market,” said U Naing Win.
Except Kayah and Chin states, other regions and states export watermelons and muskmelons to China. The coronavirus outbreak has forced growers to sell watermelons in local markets.
“In addition, the yield has surpassed demand this year. If China’s market does not reopen in the coming weeks, the losses will mount drastically,” said traders.
The Myanmar Watermelon and Muskmelon Exporters and Producers Association (Central) said it is ready to help growers link with markets in Yangon. Growers can get further details from the association.
The association has also sought the assistance of the Trade Promotion Organization under the Commerce Ministry to help traders penetrate other foreign markets.
Myanmar exports more than 800,000 tons of watermelons and 150,000 tons of muskmelons every year. At present, only 200,000 tons of watermelons and a small volume of muskmelons have been shipped to external markets. In addition, a large quantity of watermelons and muskmelons are expected to be harvested in Myanmar until May-end. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)