“Sweet. Delicious. Refreshing. Nourishing.” These are the remarks that you can hear when someone eats watermelon or drinks a watermelon shake.
Did you know that watermelon is also a good source of income for farmers? And that farmers can earn quite a bit when they plant watermelon?
Based on East-West Seed’s own research and as experienced by farmers all over the country, the potential income from growing watermelon in one hectare of land is around P200,000, based on the prevailing cost of materials for 2017 and the average selling price of watermelon produce in the market. The details are as follows:
Growing watermelon requires a lot of labor, as indicated by the higher percentage of labor costs, which accounts for 26.4% of the total production cost. Laborers are needed in various planting activities like harrowing, bed making, and plastic mulch installation, seedling growing and planting, watering, weeding and other activities. As a result, watermelon growers may want to mechanize their farms. The cost of seeds contributes around 6% of the total cost of production. Seed cost accounts for a very small portion of the total production cost but is crucial, so farmers are not encouraged to use poor quality seeds. Remember, it all starts with the seeds.
Other costs include plastic mulch, fertilizer, and other supplementary inputs with the following shares of costs: 6.9%, 16.8%, and 24.8%, respectively.
The price of produce in the market fluctuates, depending on the supply and other market forces. Considering a price range of P8-12 per kilogram (kg) of fruit, a farmer may earn a net income from P140,185 to P260,185 from a hectare of land with a plant population of 6,000. To earn this amount, a farmer needs just about 3 months.
What would be the key success factors (KSF) needed in order to achieve the full potential income in growing watermelon? Here are some:
- Proper selection of seeds. Using hybrid watermelon varieties like Sweet 16, Sweet 18, Sugar Baby Max, and Sugar Ball gives you a better chance that your watermelon growing business will be a success due to their high yield potential and excellent field performance.
- Proper site selection. Watermelon prefers a sandy loam type of soil with a pH of 5.8 – 7.2.
- Favorable weather. This crop is sensitive to very drastic or sudden changes in weather. Beware of typhoons.
- Proper and complete planting inputs. Applying the proper fertilizers and other inputs in the right amounts and with the proper timing gives farmers the edge in attaining a better harvest
- Timing of planting. Because of the availability of strong hybrid varieties, watermelon can now be grown year-round. That is why farmers need to schedule their farming in such a way that they are not harvesting during the peak season (for watermelon, the peak season of harvesting happens in the first quarter of the year up to the early second quarter).
P260,000 is a lot of money in just a span of 3 months. Now you know why watermelon farmers are continuously planting this crop. Interested? You can also be a watermelon farmer.
This appeared without a byline in Agriculture Monthly’s May 2018 issue.