Watermelon prices have been cooling due to a supply glut coupled with a fall in demand at Muse gate, according to Khwarnyo Trading Co Ltd.
On 18 October, about 90 trucks loaded with watermelons entered Muse gate. The number of trucks crossed 110 on 19 October, and between 20 and 28 October, 145-210 trucks entered the gate daily, thereby driving down prices, said traders.
“Chinese traders are quoting a lower than actual market price owing to some flaws in the fruits, and stocks are piling at the gate. The fruit quality is directly related to weather conditions,” said the traders.
“Some trucks brought watermelons back to the Muse gate as they were found to be of poor quality, and the fruits were sold off at low prices at the gate. Additionally, there are still watermelon stocks left on the Muse side,” said Sai Khin Maung, the owner of the Khwarnyo Watermelon depot.
There is a large price gap depending on the variety of watermelons and whether they are grown in cold Shan State and central regions, such as Mandalay and Sagaing. Watermelons from Shan State are highly demanded than those from central regions due to better quality, said traders.
With the influx of watermelons at Muse gate, the prices have slid to 700-1,400 Yuan per ton.
So far in the watermelon season, about 2,000 tons of watermelons have been exported to China.
Watermelons and muskmelons top the list of fruits exported to China, and the export volume is increasing significantly year over year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. If growers follow GAP guidelines, they can get higher prices. But, majority of them are still using pesticides, said officials. 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 fiscal year, over 560,000 in the 2015-2016FY, and over 170,000 tons in the mini-budget period (from April to September, 2018).
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. —Thant Zin/ Ko Htet
(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)