Melon mystery grips New Forest, Jamaica

Source: Fresh Plaza

After some 100,000 pounds of melons failed to properly mature under mysterious circumstances, growers at the New Forest Agro-Park are left with a million dollars-plus in losses. Investigations are underway to establish the scale of the impact to assess whether Manchester could be affected by a short-term shortage.

Grower Theo Hinds suffered the hardest hit, losing an investment of approximately $700,000 with a possible profit of approximately $4 million. “I am just hoping that is not a complete loss and they can find out what caused it and we can get back something,” said Hinds.

With the fruits rotting before full maturity, another farmer, Zarro Jones, said he and his colleagues theorize that the seeds used may have been compromised. Jones invested about $200,000 and expected yields of 20,000 pounds and revenue of $1.6 million.

“Nobody is sure what is happening. There has been speculation about the seeds, but no one is sure,” he said. “If it was the soil, maybe other crops would be damaged as well. This has never happened to us before.”

Jones said that he feared the risk of further spread because other crops such as cucumbers and pumpkin fell under the plant family cucurbits, under which melons were also classified.

Manager at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, Winston Miller, disclosed that a variety of samples were now being tested at the Bodles Research Station, but no cause has yet been determined.

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