Many Ugandans enjoy watermelons and it is good for business

The Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) has outlined business ideas for both local and foreign investors who want to invest in the agriculture sector. Among business idea that UIA has advised investors to get interested in, is the growing and marketing of watermelons (Citrullus lanatus).

“The idea is premised on harvesting 12,000 watermelons per quarter which translates into 48,000 watermelons per year. The revenue potential is estimated at USD 7,200 (about 27.4 million) per quarter, which translates into US$ 28,800 (about Shs109.4 million) per year,” says UIA’S Generation and Up-dating of Business Ideas Report.

According to the report, the watermelon business has a good market demand throughout the year and can provide employment to the youths and women. UIA estimates the Project cost at about US$ 2080 (Shs7.9 million).

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Production process

Dig plenty of organic matter into the soil to provide the conditions watermelons need: a light, sandy, fertile loam soil that is well drained yet retains moisture. Plant Watermelons after both air and soil temperatures have reached 65°F usually two to three weeks after the last rainfall.

Direct sowing is best if your growing season is long enough for the plants to mature. For each plant, dig a hole two feet in diameter and a foot deep, and add at least a shovelful of compost or well-cured manure and a trowel or two of bone meal.

Set hardened-off transplants into the ground at the depth they were growing in their pots. Sow seeds an inch deep in hills. Allow plenty of space between plants. Apply a thick organic mulch to hold in moisture.

Remove all covers as soon as flowers appear so that bees and other insects can pollinate the plants, and begin fertilizing with compost tea every three weeks and should be ready to pick about 35 days later.

Market Analysis

According to the report, there is a growing market for fruits such as watermelons country wide especially in urban areas. Water melons can be supplied to Fruits’ vendors, market vendors, hotels, supermarkets and canteens. “There are so many investors in this sector spread across the Country especially in Central Uganda,” it says.

Land requirements: Two acres of land which hired at approximately US$1,000 (about Shs3.8million).

Why people buy and include watermelons in their diet

Boosts Immunity: Studies show eating watermelon can increase levels of arginine, an important amino acid that’s used for the synthesis of nitric oxide. Not only does nitric oxide help dilate your vessels to keep blood flowing efficiently and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, but it’s also involved in regulating the immune system.

Watermelon is also a great source of vitamin C, a key micronutrient that does double duty, acting as both an antioxidant and immune enhancer to keep your body healthy and ward off chronic disease. Antioxidants can also help fight free radicals and relieve inflammation to protect the cells against oxidative damage and stress.

Improves Heart Health: Watermelon contains a good amount of both potassium and magnesium, two important nutrients used to help remedy high blood pressure naturally. Consuming proper amounts of potassium and magnesium from a nutritious diet may be associated with improved heart health and a decreased risk of death from heart disease.

A review published in the journal Advances in Nutrition showed that eating plenty of potassium-rich foods like fruits and vegetables can positively impact blood pressure levels, which may be useful in reducing the risk of conditions such as stroke and heart disease.

Lycopene, one of the carotenoids found in abundance in watermelon, can also help keep your heart healthy and strong. Lycopene benefits heart health by reducing inflammation and improving blood lipid levels. (8) Studies have also shown that watermelon can help to relieve arterial stiffness, balance cholesterol and improve systolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension.

Relieves Pain and Muscle Soreness: One of the top 10 benefits of watermelon is its ability to promote muscle recovery and alleviate aches and pains in athletes. Interestingly enough, one study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry looked at the effects of watermelon juice as a functional drink for athletes. After 24 hours of supplementation, athletes experienced improved heart rates that were more beneficial for muscle recovery in addition to less overall soreness and muscle aches.

In addition to the potential benefits of watermelon juice, watermelon also packs a good amount of vitamin C into each serving, which has been shown to protect cartilage and bones, aid in the repair of tendons and ligaments and help speed up wound healing.

Potassium and magnesium, two nutrients that are also found in watermelons, are important for muscle recovery and pain relief. Potassium, in particular, aids in the prevention of muscle cramps following exercise and helps you heal from injury more quickly.

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