Date
22 October 2019
Yuen Long farmer Chan Chi-Cheung said half of his canopies were shattered by Super Typhoon Mangkhut last year, and the subsidy he received was not enough to have them repaired. Photo: HKEJ
Yuen Long farmer Chan Chi-Cheung said half of his canopies were shattered by Super Typhoon Mangkhut last year, and the subsidy he received was not enough to have them repaired. Photo: HKEJ

Watermelon prices rise 11 percent on Mangkhut impact

Hong Kong will see a sharp drop in the supply of locally produced watermelons while their prices are expected to rise because of the impact of last year’s Super Typhoon Mangkhut.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) estimates that watermelon yield this year will drop 20 percent to only 6,000 to 7,000 after Mangkhut wreaked havoc on local farms on Sept. 16 last year, The Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

Fruits such as watermelons, which do not cope well with humid and soggy conditions, bore the brunt of the storm.

As a result of the reduced supply, the retail price of watermelons has risen 11 percent to HK$45 per pound, according to farmers.

Yuen Long farmer Chan Chi-Cheung said at least half of his canopies collapsed at the height of typhoon’s fury.

Although he had received a subsidy under the Farm Improvement Scheme (FIS), he still does not have enough money to fully repair his farm.

Without the protection of canopies, half of his watermelon harvest rotted following rains in recent days.

Under the FIS, qualified farmers can receive a maximum amount of HK$30,000. But Chan said he has used up his entire subsidy after he hired a worker to repair his canopies for 20 days. The payment does not include the cost of materials.

And since the subsidy cannot fully cover his expenses, the repair work on his farm is unfinished.

Meanwhile, the AFCD will hold an Organic Watermelon Festival this Friday.  Different varieties of watermelon will be sold at the festival, including Hami from Japan, Super Sweet Black Angel 168 from Australia, and Diana from Taiwan.

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WL/RT/CG