The annual Hungarian watermelon harvest season started this week, and large, ripe, green watermelons are expected to hit groceries, supermarkets and marketplaces soon. The average Hungarian annually consumes ten kilograms of watermelon. Since the season started later this year, it is expected that domestic watermelons will be available in shops until as late as September.
Watermelon cultivation decreased in land area this year – While normally, 4.5-4.8 thousand hectares are dedicated to melon growing, this year, only 4 thousand hectares were sown with the plant, leading to a projected harvest of about 160 thousand tons. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis coincided with the planting season, which might have contributed to the uncertainty and decrease in planted area sizes. While spring frosts and droughts and later heavy rains affected melon cultivation this year, the availability of better varieties and hybrids will lead to higher yields. Moreover, because the season was delayed, producers are in luck – The overlap in the market with produce imported from Mediterranean countries will be much shorter.
Hungary is the fifth largest watermelon producer in Europe after Spain, Greece, Italy and Romania. The first harvest always starts in the warmer, sunlit south-western and southern counties Baranya and Békés.