Synthesis Agriculture, a local horticulture firm, says international demand for locally produced watermelons has surged, increasing by 60,000 metric tonnes to 180,000 metric tonnes a week in South Africa alone.
The institution has since embarked on a recruitment drive to identify 150 farmers to produce the fruit to meet the new demand.
Synthesis Agriculture Managing Director, Dickson Kilowe, said this is an opportunity for local farmers to earn more from their labour.
“In June we signed a new contract with a buyer in South Africa, who assured us that despite Covid-19 they will buy our fruits and increased the volumes by 60,000 metric tonnes,” Kilowe said.
One of the farmers, Edah Pilingu, said watermelon farming is promising especially that the fruits are coming out healthy.
“We have planted the melons on a 2 acre piece of land and we have four labourers but after calculating the input and what we are expected to get per fruit we will make a lot of profit,” Pilingu said.
However, some farmers say their crop has been affected by pests and diseases that have affected output.
Last year, Synthesis Agriculture signed a contract with a foreign firm to be buying watermelons from about 500 local farmers.