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Turkey: Watermelon harvest has started in Antalya
The watermelon seeds which were planted in mid-January in greenhouses in Antalya, have been harvested since April 13th. The harvest will continue until the end of May and the annual watermelon production of Antalya is estimated to be around 450,000 tons. Growers are now selling watermelons to wholesalers for around 0.5 – 0.65 USD per kg, and on average the watermelons weigh between 5 – 10 kilograms.
Veli Demir has been a watermelon grower for 17 years and has greenhouses in an area of 120,000 square feet. Veli Demir: “The cost of growing tomatoes in 10,000 square feet is around 750 USD whereas for watermelons this cost is only 125 USD. Products such as tomato, zucchini and eggplant are very costly to grow whereas watermelon is cheaper to grow and brings a higher return. That’s why I grow watermelons as a secondary product in my greenhouses.
We plant seeds around January 20th – 25th and we harvest around 15th – 20th April so the production takes just 3 months. 15 to 20 tons of watermelon is harvested from my greenhouses on a daily basis and is sold at fruit and vegetable markets for 0.5 – 0.6 USD per kg. We are very much satisfied with the prices right now.”
Another grower Mustafa Demir: “We harvest our greenhouses twice a year. Around early August, we plant tomato seeds and we harvest them around 10th of January. Then we plant watermelon seeds around January 20th. Watermelon has a higher return than tomatoes for us and the labor costs are much cheaper for watermelon.
The first watermelon in Turkey is harvested every season in Antalya about a month before other cities. Here our products grow much quicker because of altitude and hot weather. We harvest around 10,000 tons of watermelons per 10,000 square feet. Adana is well known for its watermelon production in Turkey but actually Antalya should be known for watermelons as well. The quality of watermelons is very good and much better than imported watermelons from Iran. The watermelons from Iran take nearly a month to arrive and the consumers can differentiate the imports from Iran by looking at the stem. Imported products spend too much time in transport thus their stems are dried out when they are on the shelves.”
Publication date: 5/16/2018
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