Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Show us your Melons!

Morocco's melon season is about to start. But the bad news is that the melons that appear in the souqs are the ones that Europe doesn't want. The Moroccan melon varieties are grown principally for export and are "Castella" and "Magenta". Much of the production is around Marrakech according to major producer, the Mazzoni Group, (one of the main players in the Italian fresh produce industry).

Sergio Trevisan says... "The Castella variety is very reliable both with regard to quality and quantity. Magenta has been introduced 4-5 years ago. All the production in the weight's range from 800 to 1800 gr. (about 17-20 MT/ha) is shipped to Italy. The remaining production was once exported to UK or Spain, but the domestic consumption in Morocco is so increased during the last 2-3 years that our melons with greater or smaller sizes are sold locally".

With regard to the beginning of the season for the Moroccan melons, Trevisan says: "Last year we started later than usual, due to cold temperatures after the planting phase. This year, on the contrary, thanks to favorable weather conditions, we are expecting the first shippings on 10-12 April, 8-10 days in advance than usual. The season will last until end May, when we will stop importing Moroccan melons in order to avoid an oversupply at the time Italian melons too arrive on the market".

While listing the pros of producing melons in Morocco, Trevisan indicates: lower production costs and higher yield per hectare than in Italy, excellent weather conditions, with a great difference between daily and nighttime temperatures, what allows a fruit maturation with a high sugar content (16-18 Brix). "We have got an ace in the hole too - Trevisan says - and that is our agronomist, whose long experience and know-how allow us to harvest the product at the right maturation stadium. All these pros are compensating us for the high transport costs from Morocco to Italy".


No comments: