Watermelon growers encouraged to switch to potential crops

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Farmers work at a watermelon nursery in Sagaing Region. Photo: Myo Win Tun

THE Department of Agriculture is enticing watermelon growers to turn to other crops which have market certainty, said U Win Hlaing Oo, head of Sagaing Region Department of Agriculture.
“The number of watermelon growers has dropped by 75 per cent due to price instability and transport difficulties. We are encouraging them to switch to other crops. As there is no contract farming of watermelon, the growers will definitely suffer a loss when the price drastically plunges,” he said.
“The Agriculture Department is providing necessary technical assistance to the growers, yet it urges them to choose other crops which have the potential market,” he added.
The watermelon cultivation is lucrative. However, large investment capital, market uncertainty and high quality standards of products set by the traders are posing difficulties to the growers, industry sources said.
“At present, China’s tightened border control amid the coronavirus pandemic is causing transport problems. With price instability and market uncertainty, coupled with the high quality standards, the growers have to struggle very hard,” said U Soe Lwin, president of Sagaing Region Watermelon and Muskmelon Producers and Exporters Association. It is said that watermelon production has fallen by 60 per cent since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Agriculture Department is demonstrating how to grow high yield wheat in Paukin area, in coordination with the Korea International Cooperation Agency.
“Our department is encouraging the growers to cultivate wheat while some are also planning to grow black bean and pigeon peas this winter,” said U Win Hlaing Oo.
Watermelon prices jumped from around 1,300 to over 4,000 Yuan per tonne this year and about 20 to 30 truckloads of watermelons are daily sent to China at present, according to Khwar Nyo fruit depot.— Myo Win Tun(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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Watermelon plantation in Sagaing Region. Photo: Myo Win Tun
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