Myanmar watermelon loses China market in monsoon season

Myanmar watermelon loses China market in monsoon season
A fruit vendor sorts watermelon at a wholesale market in Yangon. Photo: AFP

China’s strict Zero-Covid lockdowns imposed on China-Myanmar border towns has wrecked Myanmar’s monsoon season watermelon market this year, according to traders.

Because of COVID-19 lockdown being imposed in the Sino-Myanmar border towns of Ruili and Wanding, Myanmar watermelons cannot be exported to China and also the Chinese traders cannot visit Myanmar to buy this produce.

The Muse Fruits Commodity Exchange said that there is no trading in the watermelon market at present.

A fruit dealer said that the Myanmar watermelon was losing their China market in this monsoon season because of the China lockdown.

The watermelon farmers said that currently they had to rely on the domestic market for their crops and trading of these fruits were being conducted only in Thirimingalar and Danyingon markets in Yangon.

These farmers and traders received 60,000 Chinese Yuan (approx. 18 million kyat) for each 17-ton truck trailer in the Chinese market last year but they received only 3 million kyat in domestic market for the same amount.

A watermelon farmer from Sagaing Region said that they incurred huge losses from their monsoon season watermelon farming.

The watermelon traders said that there were very few exports of these fruits to China, about one or two truck-trailers, but they could not cover even the transportation costs from these exports.

Myanmar traders and watermelon farmers incurred losses every year as the trading of their fruits were subject to China’s trading and import policies.

Traders and farmers want bilateral agreements for watermelon export between China and Myanmar to resolve these matters.

Given the dire circumstances, analysts say acreage devoted to watermelon this monsoon season has dropped by nearly half, about 60% of the previous year.