Watermelon farmers in southern Bangladesh are pleased to be getting bumper yields and prices early this season as their produce can now reach markets all over the country thanks to the improved connectivity provided by Padma Bridge. For the past three years, farmers in more than 100 areas of Patuakhali, Bhola and Barishal have been planting watermelon in December rather than January in order to begin harvests by mid-February, when prices are typically higher.
Growers say yields are better this year as the weather remained favourable and even though middlemen eat up most of the profit, they are getting good returns based on higher sales. This is because it now takes less time for wholesalers to carry watermelon from the region to other parts of the country as the opening of the Padma Bridge facilitated road transport, reducing the fruit's chances of rotting along the way.
Watermelons weighting between 8 to 12 kilograms are selling for as much as Tk 350 per piece while 5 to 7 kg watermelons are going for about Tk 220. Meanwhile, smaller sizes are priced at an average of around Tk 80 per piece.
[ Tk 100 = €0.90 ]