Prices were High
Watermelon production in the United States decreased in 2020, while prices remained strong. According to the USDA Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, domestic fresh-market watermelon production totaled 3,419.9 million pounds in 2020, which is a decrease of 4.4% from the previous season.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported that production in 2019 was 3,579.2 million pounds, and in 2018, it was 3.914.9 million pounds.
Production in Florida and Georgia decreased, while North Carolina increased. The USDA NASS also reported that the average price per pound was 17 cents in 2020, up 10% from the previous year.
Watermelon imports decreased 4.1% in 2020. Mexico is once again a huge exporter of watermelons, supplying 85% of the imports into the U.S. in 2020.
Imports were down 6.9% in January 2021, compared to 2020. Mexican shipments of watermelons in January were also 8.4% lower.
Watermelon exports increased 11.5% in 2020.
It was one of the few commodities not impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After the initial shock that did impact South Florida producers in March 2020, retail demand picked up.
The February 2021 freeze in Texas may impact domestic watermelon supplies in future months.