Only when the new markets are explored can the watermelon exports grow despite the series of challenges, said Sai Khin Maung of Khwanyo Trading Depot.
At present, Myanmar’s watermelons are mainly shipped to China. In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus at the border, China imposed lockdowns in some areas, resulting in additional costs. Furthermore, the prices are lower than last year’s rate, he continued.
“There are a series of challenges to penetrate other foreign markets. Exploring into new markets is the best way to tackle this,” Sai Khin Maung shared his opinion.
At the beginning of the season, around 40 truckloads of watermelons and muskmelons are conveyed to China. The prices moved in the range between 1,400 and 2,000 Yuan per tonne, while muskmelon fetched 2,009-4,800 Yuan per tonne.
Last year, the COVID-19 restrictions hindered Myanmar’s watermelon and muskmelon exports to China. Chinese Customs Regulation increased delay. Long delays of trucks caused harm to watermelon quality and only one in five trucks heading to China remained undamaged with quality watermelons.
On 1 April, Nantaw and Sinphyu border posts were suspended in the wake of COVID-19 impacts. China has closed down the major border crossing Mang Wein from 30 March 2021 following the COVID-19 cases in Myanmar. On 8 July 2021, the two-remaining cross-border posts Kyinsankyawt and Panseng were suspended. As a result of this, the border trade between Myanmar and China was completely halted.
Among the Sino-Myanmar border, Kyinsankyawt border post resumed operations on 26 November on a trial run.
At present, Myanmar daily delivers rice, broken rice, rubber, various beans and pulses, fishery products, chilli pepper and other food commodities to China through Kyinsankyawt by 70 trucks and building materials, electrical appliances, household goods and industrial raw materials are imported into the country by 30 trucks.
The traders are observing delivery time, price and profit as they are perishable fruit, while they are trying to explore new markets in addition to China.
In December 2020, the seedless watermelons were shipped to Dubai for the first time. – NN/ GNLM