Melon Harvest Takes Big Hit
Melon crops in the northwestern province of Guanacaste took a hit of about 40 percent this harvest season, mostly due to poor weather and a virus that attacked the fruit, according to an industry official.
Eliécer Araya, president of the National Chamber of Melon Producers and Exporters, blamed the excessive rains late last year and aphids for spreading a virus through the 9,700 hectares (24,000 acres) of melons, mostly cantaloupes and watermelons.
Growers expected 220,000 tons this year, but yielded just 132,000, according to a report on www.freshplaza.com, an international produce news Web site.
Last year, a portion of the melon crop was rejected by the European Union after it was found to contain high levels of chemicals, Araya said.
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