Watermelon is sweet but farmers in Quang Ngai province are tasting “bitterness” because of the falling price.
Quang Ngai is one of the localities with the largest area of watermelon in Vietnam. On average, each year, farmers in Quang Ngai grow about 700 ha of watermelon. The main market for watermelon is mainly China, which is risky. Therefore, farmers in Quang Ngai often compare watermelon farming same as “gambling”.
Each year, farmers in Quang Ngai grow about 700 ha of watermelon.
These days, watermelon growers in Quang Ngai are rushing into the watermelon harvest. The selling price is 3,000 VND/kg. Watermelon is put on trucks by traders to China.
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Nhung in Tinh Giang commune, Son Tinh district said that: This year, his family planted about 11 poles of Hac My Nhan watermelon. After more than 52 days of planting, the watermelon yield reached 2 tons per pole. At the current selling price, watermelon growers have no profits because the cost of investing in agricultural materials, hiring workers, and renting land are increasing day by day.
From March to July every year, farmers in Quang Ngai grow Hac My Nhan watermelon, mostly concentrated in Binh Son, Son Tinh, and Quang Ngai districts. Along the two sides of the Tra Khuc River in Tinh An and Nghia Dung communes (Quang Ngai city), farmers rented land to plant hundreds of ha of watermelons. These days they focus on harvesting watermelons to sell to traders. However, the price of melons is low and watermelons that are considered unsatisfactory are left a lot.
Mr. Le Hong Bien, 48 years old, from Binh Son district, went to Quang Ngai City to rent land along the floodplain of the Tra Khuc river to grow watermelons. Mr. Bien shared: “In this season, I rented more than 1.3 ha of land. The weather is favorable and watermelons grow well so farmers are hoping for a bumper crop. However, the price of watermelon now is quite low. Growers are upset about a bumper crop but low price and vice versa.
Watermelon farming is compared same as “gambling” because of its unstable output and dependence on China, which is risky.
About a month ago, the price of watermelon in Quang Ngai increased dramatically, ranging from 10,000-12,000 VND/kg. With this selling price, farmers have high profits, however, when the harvest season comes, the price of watermelons starts to decline.
Mr. Le Hong Bien also shared, a bumper season but low price and vice versa is still a constant concern of growers. However, for decades, farmers have been determined to pursue watermelon cultivation because when the price is high, they earn high profits compared to other traditional crops such as corn or bean.
The characteristic of watermelon is that it only “prefers” new lands. In case of favorable soil conditions, watermelon will achieve high yields. Therefore, in addition to growing watermelons in the province, every year, there are hundreds of households in Quang Ngai move to the Central Highlands provinces to rent land to grow watermelons.
According to Mr. Pham Ba – Director of Quang Ngai Plant Protection and Crop Production Department: The watermelon area in Quang Ngai is quite large while the consumption is unstable. Due to the large area of watermelon, farmers can only expect to export to earn high profits. Sometimes, watermelon cannot be exported so their prices go down strongly, causing farmers to lose money. When the Chinese market consumes much, then prices increase that year, otherwise, watermelons are stuck. As a result, we often recommend that farmers do not grow massively to avoid the difficulty in finding the output after harvest./.