Low supply of watermelon to China pushes up price

Lorries loaded with watermelons are seen on the Sino-Myanmar border.

The number of Myanmar trucks carrying watermelons to China dropped so the price significantly escalated, Muse fruit traders said.
Earlier, over 150 truckloads of watermelon and muskmelon per day were delivered to China through the Muse border. At present, the border point saw an entry of about 100 trucks of watermelons and muskmelons to China.
Additionally, the prices touched a high of 5.2 Yuan per kilogramme for watermelon, 6 Yuan for Taiwan watermelon and 8.3 Yuan per kilo for muskmelon.
In early February, tight inspections of Chinese Customs hindered truck transport. Only 20-30 trucks were, therefore, able to pass the checkpoint amid the delays despite the high price of watermelon and muskmelon.
Consequently, watermelon was sold out at the depots on the China side and more than 500 trucks queued in line on the Myanmar side.
On 5 February, the trade channel was eased and around 100 trucks entered China. Those trucks struck on the Myanmar side were given the go-ahead in rotation for exports depending on demand, the Muse fruit wholesale centre stated.
Myanmar’s watermelon and muskmelon are heavily reliant on the Chinese market. Traders grappled with China’s strict virus policy.
In 2021, the COVID-19 restrictions hindered Myanmar’s watermelon and muskmelon exports to China. Chinese Customs Regulation increased delay. Long delays of trucks caused harm to watermelon quality and only one in five trucks heading to China remained undamaged with quality watermelons.
The traders are observing delivery time, price and profitability as they are perishable fruit, while they are trying to explore new markets besides China.
On 1 April, Nantaw and Sinphyu border posts were suspended in the wake of COVID-19 impacts. China has closed down the major border crossing Mang Wein from 30 March 2021 following COVID-19 cases in Myanmar.
On 8 July 2021, the two remaining borders – Kyinsankyawt and Panseng – were suspended. As a result of this, the border trade between Myanmar and China was completely halted.
Among Sino-Myanmar border posts, Kyinsankyawt resumed operations on 26 November 2021.
Trade activity at the Muse-Mang Wein border, which performed the majority of trade between Myanmar and China, resumed on 14 January 2023. Additionally, other goods except for agricultural products (watermelon, muskmelon), minerals and fisheries products are allowed to be sent to China through that border point.
Additionally, Nantaw and Sinphyu, which are the major borders, were reopened on 25 January 2023.
At present, Myanmar daily delivers rice, broken rice, rubber, various beans and pulses, fishery products, chilli pepper and other food commodities to China through Kyinsankyawt by over 100 trucks. — NN/EM

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