Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Production Research
Watermelons literally exploding in China


May 18, 2011
By The Canadian Press

Topics

explodingwatermelonsNEWS HIGHLIGHT

Watermelons literally exploding in China
Watermelon fields in eastern China are a mess of burst
fruit after farmers abused growth chemicals in an attempt to make extra money
but ended up ruining their crops, state media has reported.

May
18, 2011, Beijing – Watermelon fields in eastern China are a mess of burst
fruit after farmers abused growth chemicals in an attempt to make extra money
but ended up ruining their crops, state media has reported.

Advertisment

An
investigative report by China Central Television found farms in and around
Danyang city in Jiangsu province were losing acres of fruit to the problem.

explodingwatermelons 
Photo courtesy of AP 

The
farmers sprayed forchlorfenuron, a growth accelerator, during overly wet
weather and put it on too late in the season, which made the melons burst, CCTV
said, citing agricultural experts.

It
said most watermelons sold at a wholesale market in nearby Shanghai were
believed to have been treated with forchlorfenuron. Telltale signs are fibrous,
misshapen fruit with mostly white instead of black seeds, it said.

Chinese
regulations don’t forbid use of the drug, and it is allowed in the United
States for use on kiwi fruit and grapes.

But
the report underscores how farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal
chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers.

The
government has already voiced alarm over the widespread overuse of food
additives like dyes and sweeteners that retailers hope will make food more
attractive and boost sales.

The
CCTV report colourfully described the watermelons as “land mines” and said they
were exploding by the acre.

The
report quoted Feng Shuangqing, a professor at the China Agricultural
University, as saying the problem showed that China needs to clarify its farm
chemical standards and supervision to protect consumer health.

Danyang
farmer Liu Mingsuo ended up with eight acres of ruined fruit and told CCTV he
couldn’t sleep because he kept picturing exploding watermelons.

“On
May 7, I came out and counted 80 (bursting watermelons) but by the afternoon it
was 100,” Liu said. “Two days later I didn’t bother to count anymore.”

About
20 farmers and 115 acres (45 hectares) of watermelon around Danyang were affected,
it said. Farmers resorted to chopping up the fruit and feeding it to fish and
pigs, the broadcaster said.


Print this page

Related



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*