Danyang city in East China's Jiangsu province sees sharp drop in sales of watermelons after reports of the fruit being injected with growth-accelerating chemicals.
According to a Xinhua news agency report, farmers in Panzhihua city in Southwest China's Sichuan province and Beijing's Daxing district, which are two places well-known for growing watermelons, have both suffered from poor sales.
Some have become desperate enough to set up stalls along expressways in the hope of attracting customers.
Farmers said they had sold 25 kg of watermelons a day in May last year, but only four watermelons a day now, the Beijing News reported.
The agency quoted Du Zhibing, a farmer in Xinmin village in Panzhihua, as saying that his watermelons contain no growth accelerators, because farmers where he lives are "too poor to afford even chemical fertilizers".
Many of the farmers blamed the poor sales on media reports about watermelons bursting in Jiangsu province.
The Ministry of Agriculture issued a notice on its website on May 20, stating that the country has placed strict controls on the use of growth accelerators.
It further said that if used properly, the chemicals will help fruits grow bigger and faster and increase the size of harvests.
But they will cause malformation and cracks in the rinds of fruits if they are applied in the wrong amount or at the wrong time.