Economy, Business And Markets

Watermelon Exports Exceed $97 Million

Watermelon Exports Exceed $97 MillionWatermelon Exports Exceed $97 Million

Close to 504,000 tons of watermelon worth nearly $97.8 million were exported from Iran to 29 countries during the five months to August 22, registering an 18% and 33% growth in weight and value respectively compared with the corresponding period of last year.

Iraq was the biggest customer of Iranian watermelon with more than 321,000 tons of purchase, ISNA reported.

Other export destinations included the UAE, Turkey, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Qatar, Oman, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Argentina, Armenia, Estonia, Germany, the UK, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Sweden, Russia, Cyprus, Tajikistan, Romania, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands.

Watermelon is known as a water-intensive crop; though as cultivation methods become more efficient with the modernization of irrigation systems in Iran, there has been a 37% reduction in water used in watermelon production.

According to the Agriculture Ministry, some 2.2 kilograms of watermelon were produced by using 1 cubic meter of water in the fiscal 2012-13, but last year, production increased to 3.5 kg per cubic meter of water.

In addition, the production volume increased from 29 tons per hectare in the 2014-15 to 32.5 tons in 2016-17.

The lower water consumption owes to the use of modern irrigation systems that increased efficiency and reduced vaporization. Sprinkler irrigation has been replaced with drip irrigation.

During the four-year period from 2012-13 to 2016-17, the use of drip irrigation system has increased by 45.3%.

Drip irrigation, otherwise known as trickle irrigation, works by applying water slowly and directly to the soil.

The high efficiency of drip irrigation results from two primary factors. The first is that the water soaks into the soil before it can evaporate or run off. The second is that the water is only applied where it is needed, (at the plant’s roots) rather than sprayed everywhere.

Drip irrigation is the most efficient method. While sprinkler systems are around 75-85% efficient, the ratio for drip systems is 90% or higher. It is easy to install, inexpensive and reduces disease problems associated with high levels of moisture in some plants.

The analysis of statistics on production and water consumption for watermelon production from 2011-12 to 2016-17 reveals that average watermelon production stood at 3.54 million tons per year with an average yield per hectare of 29.5 tons during the six-year period, with 121,000 hectares of area under cultivation.

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