The price of the watermelon dropped by half compared to the corresponding period last year as China shut down the border in the first week of July due to the COVID surge in Myanmar, exporters from Muse said.
Myanmar’s watermelon is primarily sent to China. The closure of Sino-Myanmar border posts resulted in the price drop amid excess supply.
A truckload of watermelon (855 variety) fetched 36,000 Yuan this time last year. The price drastically plunged to 13,000 Yuan this year, and it does not even cover the truck freight rate.
“The price of watermelon climbed up last month due to purchase order. The current border shutdown prompted the traders to return home. Muse border market is completely stopped. The low demand amid the excess supply led to the watermelon price plunge”, said an official of Myanmar Melon Growers, Producers and Exporters Association.
As a result, the fruits such as watermelon and mango rely on the domestic market for now, and the traders do not receive a reasonable price. If China extends its closure for a long time, the growers will suffer mounting losses.
Watermelon growers flooded markets with excess supply this year and led to a market failure. They are suggested to reduce the production acres by 50 per cent for the coming season. As a result, the traders are encouraged to keep market balance and maintain the quality, Khwar Nyo Fruit Depot stated.
This year, about 30,000 trucks of watermelon and 12,000 trucks of muskmelons were conveyed to China via the land border. Nevertheless, a thousand trucks went in vain as they were stranded in the road part, affecting the quality of the fruits. Some watermelons have been disposed of as well.
Additionally, some watermelon trucks returned from the Myanmar-China North-East border checkpoint as the watermelon was not traded well. In addition, the truck drivers were no longer bear the cost and tariff on the China border.
Starting from 20 April 2021, the coronavirus test is mandatory for cross-border traders. Following detection of the coronavirus cases in border Ruili, China restricted border access at the Man Wein checkpoint. Ruili-Kyalgaung river crossing has also been closed. Only Kyinsankyawt post was available for cross-border trade, causing delays and long queues. At present, all the border posts between Myanmar and China were shut down.
That is why 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. — KK/GNLM