In Muse, in northern Myanmar, melon growers are anxious. The global COVID-19 epidemic has resulted in the worst financial loss in history for Myanmar’s melon export and it is feared the situation will not improve after the Thingyan holidays. Exports of melons only take place between October and the end of May because the harvest season in China begins in June.
Since the outbreak, the loss in Myanmar’s melon exports is estimated to have reached around US$65 million (K90 billion), said Myanmar Melon Growers, Producers and Exporters Association Chair U Naing Win.
“I have been exporting melons to Muse for more than 20 years. This is the biggest loss in my life. Currently, the loss is worth about US$65 million. I do not dare to think about the situation if it remains unchanged or unimproved even after Thingyan. We will lose a lot of money,” U Naing Win said.
he Myanmar Melon Growers, Producers and Exporters Association chair requested the government to hold a fair in Yangon to promote sales and support farmers.
“The government will allow us to sell until coronavirus outbreak is suppressed. Around 130 tonnes of watermelon and muskmelon were sold at the five-day fair. This meant that local demand is there,” he said.
The association says it will cooperate with the Ministry of Commerce to look for alternative markets for the country’s melon crops. Currently, about 300 watermelon and muskmelon trucks are arriving at Muse daily, but volume of exports to China is barely enough to offset the packing and transportation costs, U Naing Win said.
“Muskmelons fetch better prices than watermelons, so exporters should this into consideration before sending goods to Muse,” said U Naing Win.