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Very good prospects for Quetzali watermelon seasonThe growth in fruit production and consumption worldwide has increased over the years, and the same applies to Quetzali watermelons; a seeded variety characterised by its intense colour and sweet taste, and which is seeing its production and export volumes increase every year. The harvest of this fruit, specifically the one planted in Panama, takes place between December and January, and shipments are made during the months of February to April.
With regard to exports, Joan Montaño, of APSECU, tells us that "all the destinations to which our products are shipped are very important, and in the case of Panama, given its excellent export opportunities in the summer, the biggest destinations are the Netherlands, Spain and Italy." The Panamanian company hopes to grow mostly by looking for new destinations to market its fruit, and to this end, "talks have been held with customers from Canada, and we have also received consultations for the shipment of our fruits to Dubai, although for now we haven't reached any formal agreements."
Montaño explains that "our short-term goal is to find new commercial allies at Berlin's Fruit Logistica 2018, while in the long term we intend to make ourselves known across Europe, building a reputation as reliable producers with the best watermelons in Panama."
This year, the climatic conditions have affected the fruit's growth, and in the case of Panama, a cold front has caused more rainfall than in previous years and turned the summer into a continuation of winter. However, Panamanian producer have managed to face these inconveniences, so they still expect "an excellent harvest, as every year, with sweet and crunchy fruits, but especially in excellent conditions," says Joan Montaño.
At APSECU, "the producers have organised themselves and shown their commitment to giving a boost to the market in the region, offering the best product directly from the producer to the importer, without intermediary companies, thus seeking to improve the reputation of Panamanian fruit." A good example of this is the growing production of mini watermelons; a variety that is becoming more popular every day due to its shape, intense flavour and other characteristics that make it interesting for both the consumer and the buyers. Montaño explains that "what makes this mini watermelon trendy in many countries is its small amount of seeds, in addition to the fact that customs change and the tastes and preferences of consumers do that, too."
APSECU is the Association of Watermelon Exporters Cascajalillo Unido, an entity that was created in the province of Herrera in 2007. This association is formed by a group of more than 40 experienced farmers, with several generations of accumulated knowledge in the sowing, cultivation and sale of fruit nationwide, as well as in the export and import of agricultural products, especially watermelons, melons and soon squash.
Currently, APSECU has around 250 hectares devoted to the production of Quetzali watermelons, with which they obtain a harvest of approximately 460 containers. Its fruits are mostly intended for its customers in Europe, although a percentage will go to new customers looking for fresh, crispy fruits in excellent conditions for this next summer.
For more information:
A.P.S.E.C.U - Association of Watermelon Exporters Cascajalillo Unido
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