W28: Watermelon Update

In W28 in the watermelon landscape, Guatemala aims to increase its fruit exports by 5%, following the growth of its agricultural exports in 2022. With an emphasis on watermelons, the country exported USD 46 million worth of watermelons. The United States (US), the Netherlands, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and the United Kingdom (UK) are the main markets for Guatemala's fruit exports, with the Netherlands, Costa Rica, and Honduras showing significant growth.

The Astrakhan region of Russia supported watermelon farmers by reimbursing the costs of growing seed crops. Astrakhan is witnessing the development of new popular watermelon varieties, including those with yellow and white flesh. The vice-governor of Astrakhan highlighted the ongoing collection of early watermelons in the region, noting a significant increase in the share of early watermelon production. Watermelon production in Hungary is forecasted to meet strong foreign demand, with an estimated sales volume of 125 to 130 thousand tons. The domestic production area has increased by nearly 10% compared to 2022, with watermelons cultivated on 2.87 hectares (ha).

On the other hand, in Morocco, watermelon growers in the Larache and Gharb regions are entering the market with close watermelon harvests after the first half of the season. Despite a drop in yield of around 25% due to inadequate climatic conditions, the quality of the watermelons remains excellent, with medium-sized watermelons available in abundance. The larger areas dedicated to watermelon production this year have not translated into expected volumes due to smaller sizes caused by climatic disruptions. However, the available sizes, mainly 14 to 18 kg, are preferred in Europe and Moroccan supermarkets. Export calendars will be available from mid-July to September, while sufficient volumes will also meet the high demand from the Moroccan domestic market.

In the Turkestan region of Kazakhstan, significant areas of land were dedicated to watermelons in 2023, covering 71.3 thousand ha. Turkestan has harvested 176 thousand tons of watermelons. The primary markets for domestic watermelons are Russia, Belarus, and Latvia. Lastly, the export season for Uzbekistan watermelons started successfully in early June, with record volumes of around 30 thousand tons exported in May. Uzbek exporters have continued to increase their watermelon shipments to foreign markets in June. As a result, the total export volume of Uzbek watermelons in the first two months of the season has reached almost 80 thousand tons.

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