Mango - production & trade
The quantity of mangoes grown has doubled between 1971 and 1993, as markets developed in Europe and North America. India now produces over 50% of the world's crop. Ten and a half million tonnes were grown there in 2003, with Pakistan and Bangladesh producing over one million tonnes and 170,000 tonnes respectively.
|Image: Mangoes have become popular in Britain, and are widely available.|
There are thought to be 24 major cultivars in the Indian sub-continent, and possibly a thousand lesser-known varieties that are often only available locally and not widely marketed. Some of the more well-known varieties include alphonso, banganapalli, langra, malda, mulgoa, totapuri, chausa and dashehari.
CultivationMangoes thrive in tropical regions, and are cultivated throughout most of India in home yards, and along field boundaries and roadside avenues.
Commercial plantations are created by planting seedlings in rows in fields to make orchards. Trees start to grow fruits from 6 years old, and continue to produce them until they are over 50 years. Fruits are harvested by hand, either by climbing the tree or using a picking bag with a cutting edge mounted on a bamboo pole. It's difficult to judge how ripe the mangos are from their appearance, but size is often used as a guide.
Once picked, mangos are graded. Most make their way into the food chain as fresh fruit. These are sold on fairly rapidly because they are soft and can damage easily. For local markets they are packed into padded baskets. For export they are often washed, dipped in fungicide or hot water to prevent infection, and placed into crates with special single-fruit compartments.