Watermelon exporters fail to profit from current price

Watermelon exporters are making a loss with the current price of approximately 1,500 Yuan per tonne, said Sai Khin Maung from the Khwanyo Fruit Trading Depot.

Quality of watermelons deteriorates as they are produced in monsoon season and half of them are ruined, he continued.

“If the offering price is 1,500 Yuan. It cannot cover the freight rate and general cost. Another problem is that half of them do not meet quality. The market will recover when quality watermelon season commences,” he elaborated.

Myanmar’s watermelon is primarily exported to China. Myanmar’s fruit traders are facing a series of challenges with the changes in China’s Customs clearance system.

In early February, tight inspections of Chinese Customs hindered truck transport. That being so, only 20-30 trucks were able to pass the checkpoint despite high demand. Consequently, watermelon was sold out at the depots on the China side, and more than 500 trucks queued in line on the Myanmar side.

In 2021, 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.

The traders are observing delivery time, price and profitability as they are perishable fruit, while they are trying to explore new markets besides China.

On 1 April, Nantaw and Sinphyu border were suspended in the wake of COVID-19 impacts. China has closed down the major border crossing of Man Wein from 30 March 2021 following the COVID-19 cases in Myanmar.

On 8 July 2021, the two remaining cross-border points Kyinsankyawt and Pansang were suspended. As a result of this, the border trade between Myanmar and China was completely halted.

Among the Sino-Myanmar border points, the Kyinsankyawt border resumed operations on 26 November 2021.

Trade activity at the Muse-Mang Wein crossing point, which performed the majority of trade between Myanmar and China, resumed on 14 January 2023. Additionally, other goods except agricultural products (watermelon, muskmelon), minerals and fisheries products are allowed to be sent to China through that border point.

Additionally, Nantaw and Sinphyu border points, which is the major border crossing, were reopened on 25 January 2023. At present, Myanmar daily delivers rice, broken rice, rubber, various beans and pulses, fishery products, chilli pepper and other food commodities to China through the Kyinsankyawt border. — NN/EM