A drop in watermelon market prices have forced several farmers to plough their unharvested fruit back into the lands, or find alternative local markets. Last month, stockpiles of watermelon rose to 80,000 and 100,000 at the Johannesburg and Pretoria fresh produce markets respectively, said Steve Michaels, market agent for City Deep Watermelon.
One farmer said that market prices had dropped so severely that in some instances the price offered was not enough to cover just the transport cost to get the produce to the market.
“Prices are currently between R10 and R40/watermelon, and last month it was even lower. Currently, the [Gauteng] market offers me R1/kg. It costs me R1 000 to transport a bin of watermelons to Gauteng’s markets, and a bin has a carrying capacity of 500kg,” Willem Helm, a farmer in the Waterpoort area of Limpopo said.
[ R1 = €0.056 ]