Watermelon sown acreage drops to 200 in Sagaing Region due to market obstacle

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Watermelon plants are under care in the field of crops in ChaungU Township, Sagaing Region.

Trade suspension in border between Myanmar and China led the dropping the sown acreage of watermelon to over 200 in ChaungU Township, Sagaing Region, ChaungU Township Agriculture Department stated.
Earlier, over 10,000 sown acreage of watermelon were yearly found in ChaungU Township.
“The trade closure in Myanmar-China border is a primary reason of the drop in acreage. More than 10,000 watermelon acres were seen in the previous growing season. This year, the sown acreage was reduced significantly to 200,” said Daw Khin Myat Myat Oo, head of ChaungU Township Agriculture Department.
If China gives green light to border market, we can grow them in the current growing season, said a grower from ChaungU Township.
“Those growers who have kept the seeds cultivate the watermelon this year. Those who could not afford to grow watermelon turned to other crops such as grain and chickpea. The watermelon cultivation needs large capital investment. The input costs about K5-6 million per acre. Market uncertainty might cause the growers to suffer loss. Other crops such as chickpeas will not make losses as they can be stockpiled in the warehouse,” said a grower from ChaungU Township.
The Agriculture Department is making awareness of the reduction of the chemical pesticide and fertilizer usage and encourage the farmers to utilize the natural fertilizer and pesticide, ChaungU Township Agriculture Department stated.
The price of watermelon dropped by a half compared to the corresponding period of last year as China shut down the border in the first week of July due to the COVID surged in Myanmar, said exporters from Muse.
Myanmar’s watermelon is primarily sent to China and the closure of Sino-Myanmar border posts resulted in the price drop amid excess supply.
As a result of this, the fruits such as watermelon and mango are relying on domestic market for now and the traders do not receive a good price. If China extends its closure for a long time, the growers will suffer mounting loss.
This being so, the cross-border fruit depots suggest that the growers harvest the watermelon depending on the market condition to avoid a mismatch between supply and demand. Myanmar yearly exports over 800,000 tonnes of watermelon and about 150,000 tonnes of muskmelons to China, the association stated.—Lu Lay, KK/GNLM

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