Enhancing Sexual Activity Through Intake Of Watermelon

The Ada West District is fast becoming one of the large watermelon growing areas in the country in recent times. The district has always been associated with the cultivation of tomatoes but in recent times, this trend seems to be changing as watermelon production is gradually taking over as the most widely cultivated crop.

WatermelonThe crop is planted two times in a year; between January and March against the minor rainy season and from September to October during the major raining season. Despite its name, ironically, watermelon doesn’t require much water to grow. The flat plains of the district are an ideal place for their cultivation as they do well in low-lying areas.

According to Mr. Reuben Adase, the Ada West District Agriculture Officer, six varieties of watermelon are grown in the district. They are the Sugar Baby, Kaolack, Top Harvest, Monac, Sweet Dragon and Trimson sweet. The first three varieties are cultivated on a large scale. “Of late, the cultivation of the Sweet Dragon is being encouraged because of the increasing demand by the big supermarkets like the Accra Mall and Max Mart and other large vegetable selling shops” he said.

The cultivation of watermelon has been done on a smaller scale in the district for some time now but the effects of global warming might have precipitated the preference for the extensive cultivation of this “nature’s meal and medicine” known locally as ‘Atre’.

After the poor rains that affected farming in the district some few years back, resulting in lower crop yields, farmers saw watermelon cultivation as an opportunity to break even. They believed that by producing watermelon, which in the past had fetched a good price at the market, they would be able to earn enough money to take care of their families.

With so many more farmers than usual going into watermelon farming country-wide, the market is almost always flooded. In the district, the crop could be seen on display for sale under sheds and atop tables as one drives through the nodal towns of Addokope, Huakpo, Koluedor, Matsekope Blornya, and Sege along the Accra –Aflao highway. The light-green and striped-green football and rugby ball-shaped juicy fruit has been a magnet of attraction to most commuters who ply that portion of the highway.

In spite of the joy of a good harvest, watermelon cultivation comes with its own challenges. According to Mr Adi Senor, the elected Assembly member for the Addokope electoral area, who is also a watermelon farmer, marketing has been their major challenge. “Prices of an average-size melon range between five cedis to twelve at the beginning of harvest but sometimes can fall as low as one cedi per a sizeable one after a period and this is, adversely affecting our business,” he lamented.

This situation is just one example of the marketing challenges small-scale rural farmers face. They have little power in the markets and are often left to bear the brunt of all the risk.

So then the critical question now is, how do we make the cultivation of watermelon attract minimum risk? To achieve this, will require all farmers to have a better idea of market demands and also have the necessary information about fair price for their crops.

Besides, forming farmers groups will give them a   bigger advantage of negotiating power with traders and market women. Moreover, there is the need to register out-grower schemes with the agricultural department of the Assembly to link them directly to markets.

Marketing of watermelon in its primary state has always not yielded much dividend because of their perishable nature. Adding-value through processing would not only eliminate post harvest losses but also enhance its store of value and bring in good cash. For instance, the fresh crops can be processed into watermelon juice and jam and the outer fleshy skin into feed for ruminants.

Watermelon seeds are known to improve male fertility: processing them into aphrodisiac will bring relief to persons with fertility problems and better revenue to farmers.

Watermelon is both a dessert and a main meal. People eat it for dietary or medical reasons because of the immense benefits to the body. Have you ever heard the adage, “a slice of watermelon a day, keeps the doctor slightly away”?

Every 100 grams of watermelon contains 30 calories, one g fiber, food, ten-g sugar, one-g protein, free fat and cholesterol, contains vitamins such as A, C, E, D, niacin, thiamine, B6, B12, acid Pantothenic. It also contains several minerals some of which are iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc. Besides, it provides a diet low in fat, cholesterol, and rich in antioxidants such as (lycopene), which works to fight free radical compounds, thus, good for a healthy heart as it protects the vessels and arteries from hardening.

The red in watermelon is rich in antioxidants, citrulline compound which supports the balance of histidine-arginine necessary for the production of nitric oxide to maintain the elasticity of the arteries and blood vessels and help curb the interactions of oxidative stress. Another asset of this crop is its role in enhancing sexual activity and hence the name Natural Viagra. It is a rich source of amino acid citrulline, which works to expand the blood vessels, thus allowing the passage of more blood to the penis to allow for erection.

Besides all the positive health benefits, watermelon cultivation has the potential to rake in more revenue for the local economy because of the low overhead cost of cultivation compared to other crops, especially, during the major season. More youth farmers in the district are showing a lot of interest in watermelon cultivation.

Government intervention in this area is paramount in other to sustain the interest of the youth in the vocation. The intervention may come as   subsidy on agro-chemicals as well as the supply of watermelon processors to farmers groups for re-payment.

It is expected that the Ada West District Assembly would support watermelon cultivation as part of its agriculture intervention programmes. This is one of the ways to encourage the Youth in Agriculture programme and make it gain a foothold in the district.

By  Otor Plahar
The writer is the Ada West District Information Officer.
email: otorplahar@yahoo.com

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