ASSESSMENT OF THE PHYSICAL, CHEMICAL AND ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF WATERMELON (Citrullus lanatus [THUNB]) WAXED WITH DIFFERENT PLANT OILS
Watermelon, (Citrullus lanatus [Thunb] Matsum. & Nakai), is a popular fruit crop grown in Nigeria (Agbetiameh, 2006) and produced widely in many other countries (FAOSTAT, 2011). Records available suggest that watermelon production accounts for nearly a 6.8% of the world area reserved for the purposes of growing vegetables (Guner & Wehner, 2004; Goreta et al., 2005). In Ghana, the area under cultivation is typically around the southern belt however, other areas around the Upper Volta basin are also under cultivation (Agbetiameh, 2006; Lamptey,
Agriculture forms the backbone of most developing countries including Ghana. Until recently, agriculture accounted for 38% of its GDP, trade and industry accounted for 28.6% and services
accounted for 33.6% (ISSER, 2008). Over the years, non-traditional agricultural exports (NTE) have been a major foreign exchange earner with commodities such as orange, banana, papaya,
mango and pineapple topping the list as major NTE earners. Even though there is a potential for the development of watermelon into a major foreign exchange earner, significantly missing
among the list of non-traditional export is watermelon (ISSER, 2011). Watermelon will serve as a better option than most non-traditional export due to its high market value and potential in
ensuring food security; evidently due to its high nutritional content (Kwofie, Pers. Com.)
According to Gichimu et al., (2008), watermelon is one of the widely produced vegetable fruit crop and the global consumption of watermelon is speculated to be greater than any other crop of
the cucurbitacea family. In the meantime, the over 6 billion people in the world may have to depend on certain countries for their watermelon needs. In confronting this challenge, countries
within the tropics such as Ghana are at a comparatively advantageous position because both climatic and soil condition favour year round production. nigeria can therefore place itself
strategically for a take-off as one of the leading producers of watermelon in the world. However, this can only be achieved if an effective production and postharvest system is put in place.
Additionally, the whole pre and postharvest value chain must be assessed in order to enhance the knowledge base.