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New sweeter watermelon varieties push nationwide sales in China

"Now is the season for our greenhouse watermelons in ShaHeXin, in China's Eastern Shandong Province. This year, we have newly planted 2K small watermelons. The sugar content of this watermelon can be 30% higher than ordinary watermelons and it has a great taste. We are growing along three-dimensional hanging vines, which increases overall yield.

"Growing melon vines grow along a grid, also reduces diseases and insect pests, while enhancing the color of the fruit and making it more convenient to pick. In addition, we plant on sandy land, and water melon production helps us to increase the income per hectare. We currently are generating more than 10,000 yuan (1,500 USD) per Chinese mu (0.07 hectare)," says Zhang Honghua, head of the "Xingaodi" watermelon industry complex in Shahexin Village, Xindian Town, Yucheng, Shandong Province.

In recent years, relying on the geographical advantages of the old course of the Yellow River and our sandy soil, the local area has vigorously developed the watermelon industry. It has officially registered the "Shahexin" watermelon brand and invested in the development of a watermelon planting area of 10,000 Chinese mu (665 hectares). A greenhouse watermelon industrial park has also been opened, which covers an area of 260 mu (17 hectares). Currently, there are 6 watermelon varieties planted, including 2K, Tianwang Hongyun, Early Spring Hongyu, and Yinong.

In order to increase planting efficiency, the local government sent agricultural technicians to the Shahexin watermelon orchards to provide on-the-spot guidance, including melon seedling selection, watermelon planting, field management, and protection.

"Greenhouse watermelons are on the market in May, and watermelons from sheds are on the market in June. Open-ground watermelons are on the market in July. Through investing in greenhouses and sheds, the total sales period of watermelons has been extended by nearly 3 months", explains Zhang Honghua.

In 2023, a new watermelon trading market and a watermelon sugar testing workstation will be added. In addition, a special agricultural product exhibition hall will be built to further expand the influence of the watermelon industry.

This is part of a larger investment model that includes the development of a DaQin Asparagus farm, a renewed Liu MengShi Vegetable farm and a peanut planting base. 

The region is investing in e-commerce live streaming initiatives to sell its fresh produce across China, and help its growers to connect with large and medium-sized supermarkets. This all to improve the quality of local production, and decrease market risks.