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Abnormal weather leads to drop in South Korean watermelon yield

Abnormal weather conditions, including frequent rainfall and sudden drops in temperature, have led to a decline in watermelon yield in South Korea, subsequently causing a significant increase in prices. The phenomenon, known as climate inflation, has notably affected watermelons, a popular summer fruit vegetable. The Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation reported that the average trading price for watermelons was 25,303 won per unit from the 7th to the 14th of the month, marking a 26% increase from the previous year. Retail prices also saw a 17% rise, averaging at 23,103 won per watermelon.

In April, the price of watermelons surpassed 30,000 won, a first in the last decade. The adverse climatic conditions, including insufficient sunlight and lower temperatures following continuous rainfall, have been detrimental to watermelon cultivation, affecting both yield and growth environment. The Korea Rural Economic Research Institute's Agricultural Observation Center anticipates an 8% decrease in watermelon shipments this month compared to last year, despite a 2% increase in the shipping area. The reduction in yield is attributed to a decrease in the complexity rate during planting, reduced sunlight during the fertilization period, and delayed root activation due to cold weather.

Buyeo-gun, a leading watermelon producing area, recorded only 102.7 hours of sunlight in February, a 43.8% decrease from the previous year. Other regions like Haman and Uiryeong-gun in Gyeongsangnam-do and Goryeong-gun in Gyeongsangbuk-do also experienced significantly reduced sunlight hours. The impact of the abnormal climate extends beyond watermelons, with melon shipments expected to decrease by 6% due to poor crop conditions. Additionally, garlic and maesil crops in South Gyeongsang Province and South Jeolla Province have suffered damages due to the unusual weather patterns.

[ 100 won = €0,07 ]


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