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This Year’s Watermelon Season Promises an Excellent Harvest

Hungary Today 2024.06.18.

Watermelon season will start earlier this year, partly due to the good weather and partly due to improvements made by growers, said Imre Csizmadi, president of the Department of Horticulture at the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture.

“This year there was nothing extreme in the weather, thus we can expect a very good harvest,” stressed Mátyás Göcző, president of the Hungarian Melon Growers Association, reports Világgazdaság.

Improvements in watermelon production, which are being or have been made, and changes in technology are constantly increasing costs,”

said Péter Kelemen, executive director of FruitVeB Hungarian Interbranch Organization for Fruits and Vegetables. It is fortunate, however, that fertilizer prices are lower than last year, meaning some relief for producers, but they still have to reckon with rising labor costs: in Békés, for example, these have increased by 20-30% compared to last year.

Climate change is also affecting watermelon production, making it more difficult and posing a huge risk.

On the other hand, it is positive for domestic production, due to the fact that it also affects Mediterranean countries. For Spanish, Greek, and Italian production, climate change adds a degree of uncertainty, hence buyers are seeking to secure the necessary quantities of watermelons from a wider range of sources, meaning greater export market opportunities for domestic producers. Mr. Kelemen pointed out that watermelon production provides many good examples of how producers can join forces to meet the needs of supermarket chains.

Crop soon ready for harvest in Békés county. Photo via Facebook/Magyar Dinnyetermelők Egyesülete

Syngenta (agricultural company headquartered in Switzerland) said in a statement that the favorable weather conditions are bringing Hungarian watermelons onto the shelves earlier. According to the company, also a major player in the pesticides and seeds market, the area will increase this year, with an expected 140-160,000 tons of watermelons and 10-12,000 tons of melons to be harvested by Hungarian producers in the summer. According to Pál Lacházi, Syngenta’s melon specialist,

the average annual consumption of watermelons in Hungary is around 10 kilos per person.

In addition to domestic consumption, which is around 100-110,000 tons, approximately 40-50,000 tons are exported, most of them going to the Polish, German, Czech, and Slovak markets. “With growing export links, we can expect to have a significant share of Hungarian watermelons to sell,” he added.

Additionally, it should be noted that the supermarket chains have responded to the changing consumer demand and are increasingly favoring smaller watermelons weighing less than 7-10 kg. Furthermore, the proportion of seedless watermelons has been increasing slightly year on year. The classic, seeded watermelon, weighing over 10 kg, is of high quality, is tasty, and has a high nutritional value, and is in demand mainly in the traditional sales markets.

Syngenta expects to grow a total of 3,300 hectares of watermelon, an increase of almost 20% compared to the previous year. In Békés county, the area increased by 8% compared to last year, but the largest increase of 30% was in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county.

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However, the vast majority of people know when fruits and vegetables are in season.Continue reading

Via Világgazdaság; Featured image via Facebook/Győrffy Balázs

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