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Tunisian melons offer early season alternative to European melonsAs the weather warms up and allows growers to change out of greenhouse melon production, Tunisian open field growers are starting to harvest and ship their melons and watermelons to Europe. With an early start, Tunisian melons and watermelons offer an early season alternative for a European market still waiting for continental supplies to arrive.
“Maturing early, Tunisian watermelons and melons offer the main advantage of being available in markets and supermarkets in Europe a few weeks before the product reaches maturity in Europe,” said Agri Didon's Abdallah Frikha. Agri Didon specializes in exporting early-season and out of season produce from Tunisia, and Frikha said that the unique soil and climate conditions in Tunisia allow them to ship their melons early.
Annual melon production for Tunisia is around 460,000 tons on 25,000 hectares of land, making melons the second biggest crop in the country. Most of the country's exports go to Italy, with 5,651 tons of melons shipped there last year; and with Algeria and France following closely behind. Total exports reached 18,000 tons last year. While the same varieties which are grown in Europe are harvested in Tunisia, Frikha said that Tunisian growers can get into the European market because of their early season.
“Heated greenhouse production starts in mid-March, non-heated production begins in April, and open field harvesting starts in early May,” said Frikha. “So the main advantage is that Tunisian melons can reach European markets a few weeks before European melons make it to market.” With a robust export program, Frikha added that Agri Didon currently has watermelons and cantaloupe available to ship to Europe.
“We have the opportunity to meet customer needs, thanks to the early Tunisian season,” said Frikha. “Watermelons and Tunisian melons have a delicious taste and can be transported either by sea or air, so our exports of these products have been increasing from year to year.”
For more information:
Agri Didon Tunisia
Tel: +216 27 522 157
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