Good Harvest Brings Smiles To Malaysian Watermelon Farmer

What could be better than having a glass of refreshing watermelon juice to keep your body hydrated on a hot summer day? The watermelon contains 92 per cent water. The watermelon is also soaked with healthy vitamins, sweet yet refreshing low-calorie fruit.

One glass of watermelon juice contains five ounces of water.  Image source via belmarrahealth

In Malaysia, the watermelons are grown mostly in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Pahang, and Terengganu. The watermelons are typically harvested after 70 days, starting in January to March. The watermelon plantation producers could sometimes earn thousands of ringgit from one harvest!

Ariffin Ismail, 60, operates a 10-hectare watermelon farm around Beris Lalang and Kampung Aman in Bachok, Kelantan. During this season, his farm produces more than 50 tonnes of watermelons! Ariffin's farm produces a lot of grade-A watermelons since its first harvest last January. His watermelons are sold to wholesalers from Johor and northern states such as Perak, Kedah and Penang.

Bacho is one of the highest watermelon producers compared to other districts in Kelantan. This means many opportunities have opened up for local residents in agricultural entrepreneurs.

Image source via Pixabay

“I'm thankful that the price of watermelon for this season is higher compared to the previous year as there is no fruit dumping. Last year, the price for wholesalers of grade A watermelon dropped to RM0.80 sen per kilogram, but this year, the watermelons are selling around RM1.50 per kilogram and RM1 for grade B. It reached RM2 per kilogram for retail sales,” he shared with Harian Metro.

Many wholesalers from Johor and the northern states came to buy watermelons at his farm because they knew the quality of the watermelon Ariffin produced. Most of the wholesalers that bought from him go way back, as long as 30 years.

Ariffin has been cultivating watermelons for the past 30 years on the ten hectares of land with the help of his wife, Mek Nab Sulaiman, eldest son and four workers. Managing the crop is not as complicated, as it only requires sufficient water, especially when the system of growing watermelon is set and working, said Ariffin. 

Pile of Grade-A watermelon from Ariffin's farm in Bachok, Kelantan.  Image source via Harian Metro

He also uses fertilisers to provide enough nutrients that help his crops grow, and pesticides to keep insects and pests from destroying the watermelon.

Although the process is simple, Ariffin admits that he needs constant monitoring on the watermelon crop to ensure the fruits is not damaged by pests. Pests and insects can affect the quality and size of the fruits. The selection of quality seeds is equally as imported as it will determine the quality of the fruit. His watermelons are planted between November to December every year because it rains heavily during the season.

"This is to make sure watermelon get enough water,” Ariffin said.

Watermelon is a short-term crop that is harvested in several rounds. He will first harvest grade A quality fruits, followed by grade B quality which is sold at a lower price. Ariffin will do this month-long, depending on the market demand.

In tropical countries such as Malaysia, good quality watermelon can be grown. With warm soils and sufficient rainfall, the watermelons are often very sweet. Cultivation of watermelon in soil.  Image source via Fama

To maintain the quality of crop yields and soil fertility and reduce the risk of diseases, Ariffin only grows watermelon for one season each year. Other times, the land is mainly left vacant. To reduce the risk of diseases, it is best not to plant on land where vine crops have grown. Experienced growers like Ariffin often prefer an even longer rotation period.

High yields of good grade watermelon can be achieved through careful management to give a great deal of profit. Ariffin advised beginners who want to cultivate watermelon to obtain more knowledge from those who are more experienced to produce watermelons successfully. 

If you are interested in growing watermelon for a profit, let’s learn and understand more about growing it.

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