An ongoing plummet in watermelon yields from Thoddoo island in Haa Alif since late May will likely cause a shortage soon, local traders and merchants say.
RaajjeMV interviewed a number of vendors at the local market in capital city Malé, most of whom said that watermelon supply from the island has dropped by several tons.
“We used to get nearly about 25 tons from Thoddoo daily, now we just get about 15 tons. It has been this way since mid-Ramadan” a vendor said, referring to the Islamic month of fasting which Maldivians began observing on 16th May this year.
Watermelons are a staple fruit for Maldivians and are consumed exceptionally heavily in Ramadan. A kilogram of watermelons is available for between MVR 30 and 35, varying between vendors.
Farmers in Thoddoo island have previously said that seasonal rain and infestation have plummeted yields from the nation’s watermelon hotspot. The island is known for its farmlands and every year its local government council leases over a hundred plots to grow fruit ahead of Ramadan.
The unfortunate pest-and-rain combination had devasted the island’s farm lands in 2017 as well, and eventually resulted in an end to supply from the island before Ramadan ended.
Thoddoo exports several dozens of watermelons to Malé and other atolls and the island’s council announced this year that their farmers intend to grow and sell at least 300 tons by the end of Ramadan.