Weekly Product Updates

W43: Melon and Watermelon Update

Fresh Watermelon
Market & Price Trends
Fresh Melon (Muskmelon)
Myanmar [Burma]
Published Nov 2, 2023

In W43 in the melon and watermelon landscape, melon production in Italy has witnessed a decline in the past decade, with cultivated land decreasing from 18 thousand hectares (ha) to 16 thousand ha and production falling below 500 thousand tons in 2023, primarily due to a reduction in surface areas and climate-related yield problems. This trend is evident in various regions, with exceptions like Basilicata, which experienced constant production and surfaces. The Emilia-Romagna region saw a significant drop in productivity in 2023 due to floods, resulting in a 25% decrease in production. Despite a 3.7% decline in melon consumption, retail prices increased by 16%. Italian families purchasing melons decreased by 14% in 2023, alongside a 23% price increase.

In the retail sector, private labels are growing, and the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) has reached 10%. The industry is addressing challenges like climate change and inflation while promoting melons as a healthy dietary choice. The day included a roundtable discussion on the melon supply chain and product valorization in collaboration with large-scale retailers. The Italian melon supply chain is considered an excellence, and BASF | Nunhems is working alongside producers and distributors to shape the future of the supply chain.

In Spain, household consumption of fruits and vegetables declined by 2% year-over-year (YoY) between Jan-23 and Aug-23, based on data from the Food Consumption Panel published by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food (MAPA). Within this food category, fruits accounted for the highest consumption at 2.5 billion kilograms (kg), followed by vegetables at 1.5 billion kg, and fresh potatoes at 586 million kg. Among the primary fruits consumed in households, there were decreases in orange consumption by 14.5%, apples by 2.7%, melons by 6%, and strawberries by 10%. On the contrary, there was an increase in the demand for bananas (13%), watermelons (3%), and stone fruits such as peaches (9%) and apricots (20%).

Furthermore, Spain has seen a 29.2% drop in melon exports, totaling 131.33 million kilograms, from the 2018/2019 campaign to the 2022/2023 campaign, according to a report by Hortoinfo. Major melon buyers, including the United Kingdom (UK) (-41.3%), France (-28.3%), the Netherlands (-26.7%), and Germany (-19.9%), significantly reduced their purchases from Spain during this period. France accounted for 26.34% of Spain's total melon exports, followed by Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and Portugal.

Lastly, Myanmar watermelon traders have halted exports to China due to high costs, causing watermelons to flood the Yangon market within Myanmar. While watermelons exported to China are priced well at USD 205.05/ton (CNY 1,500/ton), high freight, parking fees, and taxes result in losses for growers and traders. The excess costs have led to the suspension of exports to China, with Mandalay, Sagaing, and Naypyitaw regions contributing to the oversupply in the Yangon market. However, weak local purchasing power has led to a sharp drop in watermelon prices. Growers and sellers are actively seeking new sales channels to address this issue, while the government is working to promote domestic agricultural product purchases and explore ways to expand both domestic and export markets.

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