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Bumper watermelon harvest: Farmers face losses, traders make hefty profit

Watermelon growers are incurring huge losses due to lower price at the growers end but the traders are making hefty profit due to high prices of the summer fruit at the retail level.

Farmers have produced a plenty of watermelon in the hope of gaining good profit due to its great demand during the sweltering heat.

The bumper production has become a burden for the farmers as they are not getting fair price. Many farmers are even struggling to recover the production cost.

The popular summer fruit was being sold at Tk 5-10 per piece (4-6kg) wholesale rate at the growers end in Khulna area.

On the other hand, retailers are selling watermelon at Tk 40-50 per kg in the capital, which is much more than the price at the growers’ level.

Watermelon is grown in Teknaf, Shahporir Dip, Sandwip, Noakhali, Khulna,  Feni, Bhola, Patuakhali, Barguna, Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Gaibandha, Meherpur, Pabna and some others area in the country.

Lucrative price encourages farmers to cultivate the summer fruit in the tropical weather while country has seen a bumper watermelon yield in the last three constructive years.

The production of watermelon was 17, 78,989 tonnes from 43,347 hectares of land in 2021, 14, 52,500 tonnes from 38,824 hectares of land in 2020.

Farmer Biswajit Chakraborty from Bajua union under Dakop upazila in Khulna said he cultivated watermelon on 10 hectors of land this year, investing Tk 25 lakh.

Most of his crops have been matured, but he cannot harvest the watermelons due to lack of buyers.

He was able to sell watermelon worth only Tk 5 lakh while the rest of the his produce are still on the field.

“I am worried about recovering the production cost, as the wholesale price of watermelon is Tk 5-10 per piece (4-6 kg),” he said.

Many farmers of his area produced a plenty of watermelons but they are struggling to sell their produce.

Farmers are getting Tk 5,000-10,000 for watermelons grown on each bigha and Tk 30,000-40,000 each hector of land.

“The production cost is Tk 30-35 per piece on top of a transport cost of Tk 20-40,” said a watermelon grower.

Large quantities of watermelon have hit different markets and roadside shops since last month, but price of the fruits was much higher at the retail shop in the urban area.

With a lot of health benefits, watermelons are now turning to be a preferred ingredient for used in salads, paired with cheese, juiced or sliced.

Usually, the summer season begins in late March to June and seasonal watermelon also appears at a large scale during the period.

In Bangladesh, the most popular varieties of watermelon grown by farmers are Patenga Giant, Top Yield, Glory, World Queen, Bigtop, Champion, Ampere, Sweet Baby, Victor Super Hybrid and Ocean Hybrid.