Pamper your palate as juicy and tangy mangoes hit market

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ISLAMABAD: Almost every one of us waits for summer so we pamper our palate with juicy and tangy mangoes. So, the wait is over as yummy and mouth-watering fruit has landed in the markets of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.

It has a special delight to peel off and have a bite of ripe mango, post-lunch or in hot afternoon. From ‘Sindhri’ to ‘Malda’ and ‘Langra’, different varieties of the pulpy fruit are seen filled in most of the racks in any fruit shop besides the vendors roaming around to sell the delicious fruit. But owing to high prices, the mango is currently unaffordable for low-income class, though privileged ones are fully enjoying the bites of the `king of fruits’.

The fruit is priced from Rs 80 to 120 per kilogramme; however it is on downward trend as peak season is approaching after mid-June. Nowadays, the mangoes’ variety available in markets is coming from Sindh, as the production from Punjab gardens is yet to hit the market to help further reduce prices.

Both at local and international level, the fruit is considered a laudable gift to beloved ones. Considering the trend, the courier and cargo companies have already introduced their packages to parcel mangoes countrywide as well as internationally. The mangoes are also used as tool of diplomacy as the fruit is also gifted at the state level to heads of other states or diplomats. This year, the produce is feared to remain almost 20 percent lower than that of previous years in Pakistan owing to various climatic reasons. “This year, production would remain low at 13 to 14 million tonnes as the crop has been badly affected by frost, sudden surge in temperature and recent windstorm,” said Mango Growers Association President Zahid Gardezi.

He said owing to non-establishment of cargo complex at Multan Airport, the fruit has to be transported through Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad airports. Like jingoism, mangoes, too, have their identities in accordance with their production areas. Though mango-producing belt starts from Sahiwal and spreads to Hyderabad, Multan and Muzaffargarh are known for producing the best and rare varieties.

“There are around 300 varieties of mangoes in Pakistan but only nine varieties are available in market,” Gardezi said, adding most of the rare varieties are placed in exhibitions. He said the varieties are named by the growers like “Lab-e-Mashooq” and “Palang Tor”, as in the absence of research mechanism they continue making experiments to introduce new species. Gardezi said a piece of “Palang Tor” mango weighs around 2 kilogrammes and the only tree across Pakistan, in Muzaffargarh, is producing that species. “But in absence of any scientific mechanism to handle the crop in post-harvest period, almost 40 percent yield is lost,” he said, adding that usually the mango is exported to the countries hosting Pakistani communities and the Pakistani fruit is yet to get space in European markets.

The mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines, besides being the national tree of Bangladesh. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates, worldwide production of mango stood at nearly 35,000,000 tonnes in 2009. The aggregate production of the top 10 countries is responsible for around 80 percent of worldwide production.


Courtesy: Daily Times

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