According to many people, the cultivation of watermelons would be enormously profitable.
Agridigitale led the survey of producers and specialists of this popular fruit. Direction, Agbelouvé, village of Game Kove North of Lomé.
Komlan Léo AKAKPO, senior technician of the company of Expertise and export of agricultural products (SE2PA) whose main activity for years, is the culture of watermelons.
Study of profitability
One must know that the amount of fruit produced on a hectare depends on the type of variety and the case of spacing. The time from sowing to harvest varies according to the variety. 'Kaolack F2' and 'Sugar Baby', it is between 75 and 80jours; for the 'Crimson Sweet', oscillates between 85 and 95jours. WithWith the F2 Kaolack, variety of average size, you can get to a spacing of 1 m X 1 m nearly 9,000 fruits per hectare.
Others get 7,500 fruits on one hectare for a distance of 2 m between the lines and 1.3 m on the line. We opted for a space to record 6,000 fruit per hectare. This makes us have fruit with an average size of 3 kg.
The selling price is especially set based on the scarcity or abundance of watermelons. With an average price of 100 F CFA per kilogram of fruits, fruits of medium size of 3 Kg, a production average of 6,000 fruit, you can get as cost of returns average a sum of 1,800,000 F CFA per hectare.
It is important to note that for this variety (Kaolack F2), the maximum amount of fruit is 20 tons per hectare, but everything will depend on the means used and the conduct of activities.
The probability of exceed this limit is extremely low. For maximum performance, you will need to invest at least 500.000 F CFA without the cost of the land, or the salary of the technician, or commercial loads and still less the price of water if it is a culture with complementation of water.
The production and market
The production of watermelon is not complicated. The Sun and heat are essential factors that promote its production. Watermelon is not very demanding in soils. It adapts easily, as long as the soil is rich in organic and well-drained. It's a culture of short-term, less than 3 months from sowing to harvest.
Watermelon is not too demanding on water. It can be produced throughout the rainy season. In the dry season we just bring water. Watermelon water demand increases when it begins to produce fruit because fruit need water to grow well.
The moment of production depends on the market. For example, we found that watermelon is very requested at time of parties, especially the holidays of the Muslim congregations.
So it is important to remember that the sale price of the watermelon is fixed according to its scarcity or abundance.
Buying certified seed insure good performance and limits the attacks of diseases. Avoid to store watermelon over a long period.
In agriculture, nothing is static, there is always a positive or a negative margin.
The number of fruits per hectare is never standard. This number depends on the conduct, the desired size of the fertility of the soil and other factors. That is why, Agridigitale advices to call technicians in order to avoid unhappy experiences in the production of watermelons.