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Greek watermelon production down
Watermelon growers in the Peloponnese region of Greece are blaming a bad economic situation for a much reduced harvest. Although they're optimistic about the quality of the crop, lack of economic resources and no government help have contributed to the current situation.
"Volume is down by about 50 percent from last year," said Dimi Paidakis of Zangostar Export Group in Greece. "I'm not exactly sure, but we'll have about 100,000 metric tons of watermelons this year." She blamed the significant drop in production on the bad economic situation.
"Most of the growers had no money to cultivate watermelons," she said. On top of that, the political climate offered no help for growers. "Growers had no union, no organization, they had no government help, so the political situation has not helped them," she added. But going forward, Dimi hopes to introduce some sort of cooperation in order to better market watermelons from the Peloponnese region in the southern part of Greece.
"Our intention is to gather growers from the region to contract them to grow what clients want," she said. "That way growers can grow what clients want. If they want seedless watermelon, for example, we can do that, whatever the client wants."
Currently, Zangostar ships four varieties of watermelons to the Netherlands, United Kingdom and several Scandinavian countries, with exports growing every year. She attributes the popularity of their fruit on the good growing conditions in the Peloponnese region.
"The region, because it's near the sea and has sandy soil, makes for great fruit," said Dimi. "The watermelons are great in taste, great in colour, great in everything."
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