By Nyein Nyein
On account of the coronavirus outbreak, exports of watermelons and muskmelons to China have dropped, with losses pegged at US$55 million within one month (27 January to 26 February), said U Naing Win, chair of the Myanmar Watermelon and Muskmelon Producers and Exporters Association.
“At this time last year, 700 trucks of watermelons were seen at Muse gate. Only 40-50 trucks of watermelons were sent to China per day amid China’s coronavirus outbreak. It led to the decay of fruits and fell in prices. Growers and traders suffered due to this,” he said.
After China’s customs office, schools, and banks reopened on 24 February, about 200 trucks of watermelons and muskmelons were allowed to enter China’s market. But, melons are fetching a low price, said traders.
“China’s demand has increased from 50 to 200 trucks. However, watermelon exports can cover only packing costs as only 200 out of 700 truckloads of watermelons are being exported per day. The muskmelon market is not that bad,” said U Naing Win.
“At present, the price of watermelons is ranging from 10,000-28,000 Yuan per truck. Muskmelons are fetching 30,000-35,000 per truck. Melon prices have dropped by half compared with last year. Myanmar’s watermelon and muskmelon export market will return to normal only after the COVID-19 is brought under control in China. Chinese traders are also observing the market conditions,” according to the association.
“Chinese traders are concerned about market demand. The demand is gradually increasing,” said U Naing Win.
In order to remedy the current situation, the association has asked growers and traders to look for information and hold discussions with fruit depots.
Myanmar exports more than 800,000 tons of watermelons and 150,000 tons of muskmelons every year. At present, only 330,000 tons of watermelons and 40,000 tons of muskmelons have been shipped to external markets. (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)