Watermelons in Hungary: Great harvest, stable prices

Hungarian watermelon farmers expect to see a good season in 2015 with stable prices and a good harvest outlook, business daily Világgazdaság said, citing Ferenc Ledó, head of the Hungarian fruit and vegetable growers’ association. Estimating the cost price of watermelon at 50-60 forints per kilogram, he said the consumer price should be between 90 forints and 130 forints, which roughly equals the current retail price level. However, producers are concerned that, as usual, prices could fall steeply later in the season. If the retail price comes down to 80 forints, the sector’s annual revenue of 15-16 billion forints could be reduced by an estimated 2-3 billion forints. With consumer habits changing, demand is growing for seedless watermelons, the yellow-fleshed variety, and smaller, 4-6-kilogram pieces rather than large, 8-12-kilogram ones. Watermelon production has a long tradition in Hungary, since 13th century moors brought seeds up from southern Africa. The fruit has become one of the major food exports of Hungary, along with peppers, paprika, sunflower products and corn. The Hungarian summers are rather warm, sunny and dry, which is perfect for watermelon.