Seed companies to showcase their latest developments in melons and watermelons this July

Murcia will be the focal point for the melon and watermelon sector this July as the top international seed companies hold a series of open days to showcase their latest innovations in this category.

Baby watermelon

Seminis, Enza Zaden, Nunhems, Rijk Zwaan, Semillas Fitó and Syngenta are some of the companies taking part in the Melon & Watermelon Innovation Days, which take place over the next two weeks.

They will open up their research farms to growers who want to learn about which varieties best fit their needs.

Among the innovations presented this year are a Piel de Sapo melon with resistance to the New Delhi virus, new watermelon varieties with a more intense colour and flavour for the export market, and varieties with complete resistance packages to the main pests and viruses that affect them.

Fernando Gómez, general director of Murcian fruit and vegetable association Proexport, said: “The success of any crop starts with an adequate selection of seeds, since their genetics are very important to be able to obtain healthy plants and quality fruits.

“In order to provide consumers with an optimal product, farmers and agricultural companies first look for varietal developments that provide flavours, colours, shapes, textures, resistance to pests, optimisation of inputs or adaptation to climate change.”

It can take up to ten years to develop a new variety, which Gómez characterised as “arduous work that requires a significant investment in R&D and close collaboration between seed houses and producers at origin, something that we specialise in in the Region of Murcia”.

Last year, the Region of Murcia cultivated 4,501ha of melons and 2,775ha of watermelons, producing 49 per cent of Spain’s melon export volume and 18.4 per cent of watermelons. In 2023, Murcia exported 158,614 tonnes of melons worth €148m and 125,114 tonnes of watermelons worth €93m.