Melon & Watermelon Innovation Days connect producers of melon and watermelon in Murcia

Tue 11/07/2023 by Richard Wilkinson

July sees the celebration of Melon & Watermelon Innovation Days, a conference in which the main Spanish and international seed houses with experimental centres and farms in the Region of Murcia open their doors to professionals in the agricultural sector to showcase their latest developments in melon and watermelon varieties. Seminis, Enza Zaden, Nunhems, Rijk Zwaan, Semillas Fitó and Syngenta are some of the participating firms.

The Association of Producers and Exporters of Fruit and Vegetables of the Region of Murcia (Proexport) emphasised that the initiative places the region at the world’s epicentre of agronomic and genetic innovation of summer fruits par excellence: melon and watermelon.

Fernando Gómez, general director of Proexport, said: “Investment in R+D+i is essential for agriculture. In the case of melon and watermelon, producers look for plant materials that provide more flavour, colours, aromas and attractive textures, resistance to pests and diseases, optimization of inputs or adaptation to climate change, among many other factors. But flavour is still key.” 

However, Goméz warned that “obtaining improvements in production implies an enormous effort on the part of seed companies, which in close collaboration with our producers, sometimes take up to ten years to obtain varieties that reach the market.”

The Region of Murcia leads Spanish melon exports with 50% of the total, while in watermelon (20%) it ranks second after Andalusia. In 2022, Murcia exported 169,019 tons of melon worth €143 million. As for watermelon, exports amounted to 129,861 tons, worth €82.8 million.

José Cánovas, president of Proexport’s melon and watermelon sector, said: “The campaign started in Almería with higher temperatures than usual during the months of March and April, which had the direct consequence of moving forward and accelerating the production. In May, the weather changed and we suffered the impact of the numerous storms that raged intermittently for three weeks in a row, just as the production was about to be harvested in the Region of Murcia and eastern Almería.” 

These phenomena were followed by hail, which fell together with the torrential rains that accompanied the storms, which negatively affected Murcian productions and many of them were destroyed, apart from generating all kinds of phytosanitary problems, such as powdery mildew and powdery mildew.

Cultivated area this season remains stable compared to last year. The most cultivated varieties in the region are seedless watermelons, both for export and for the domestic market, as well as Piel de Sapo melon for the domestic market. Others destined for export include Galia melon, yellow melon, cantaloupe and Charentais, as well as other specialities. Regarding exports, Gómez points out that “charentais is destined for French-speaking markets. It is number-one in France and part of Switzerland and Belgium. The Galia, the yellow melon and the cantaloupe are destined for countries like Germany, which is a very powerful market, and also for the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The Nordic countries also import these varieties. Regarding the consumption of melon in Europe, it is static, while that of watermelon has increased in recent years.”


Subscribe to our Newsletter

Most read on social media

Popular news