Opinion
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W31: Melon Update

In W31 in the melon landscape, cooler temperatures and wet fields have caused a two-week delay in California's melon crop season, affecting watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew harvests in the United States (US). This delay disrupted melon deliveries to supermarkets before Independence Day, creating challenges for growers aiming to capitalize on the holiday market. Despite the setback, quality remains good, and demand is steady. While there's potential for overlapping harvests and excess volume impacting the market, pricing for cantaloupes and honeydews has maintained a range of USD 9 to 10/carton. The shift towards longer-shelf-life melon varieties aims to reduce rejected fruit and lower costs, addressing retailer demands and labor challenges.

Melon production increased in central-southern Italy, leading to a notable price drop. Despite relatively high price levels, these trends reflect a year marked by reduced harvest quantities due to unfavorable weather conditions in recent months. Additionally, recent hail storms in northern Italy have negatively impacted certain production areas, potentially contributing to further price fluctuations.

On the other hand, the melon and watermelon productions in the Region of Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha are experiencing a positive shift in early August. Despite initial concerns due to adverse weather earlier in the year, the volumes harvested have normalized and aligned with customer demands. The production calendar suggests that Spanish melon and watermelon exports will continue until the third week of September. High areas of Murcia and Castilla-La Mancha are focused on cultivation to optimize quality and water conservation. In addition, Castilla-La Mancha anticipates 155 thousand metric tons (mt) of melon production across approximately 6 thousand hectares (ha). Notably, around 90% of these cultivation areas are concentrated in the province of Ciudad Real.

Melon cultivation in Ukraine's Kirovohrad and Kherson regions showcases varying scales. In Kirovohrad, melon farming occupies 3 thousand ha, involving 13 farms, a 100 ha increase compared to 2022. However, storage limitations hinder further expansion, as the absence of proper facilities impacts product preservation and marketing strategies. Conversely, the Kherson region devotes only 200 ha to watermelon cultivation across 23 farms. This contrasts with the previous year's 21 thousand ha melon cultivation in Kherson.

Lastly, the melon export season from Uzbekistan had a 22% decrease in shipments during Q1-2023 compared to the same period in 2022. From May-23 to Jul-23, Uzbekistan exported 17.1 thousand tons of melons, totaling USD 6.4 million. The main importers include Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Latvia, which account for 84.4% of total exports. The melon export season in Uzbekistan typically runs from May to January or February, with active shipments occurring from June to November.

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