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The variety is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a nobleman and military expert who helped establish portuguese colonies in India. The Portuguese introduced grafting on mango trees to produce extraordinary varieties like Alphonso. The fruit was then introduced to the Konkan region in Maharashtra, Gujarat and parts of south India.
It is also one of the most expensive varieties of mango and is grown mainly in the western part of India including Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Raigad districts and in the Konkan region of India. Each mango weighs between 150 and 300 grams (5.3 and 10.6 oz).
Alphonso is generally referred to as 'Hapus' (हापुस) in Maharashtra and Gujarat, and is used to make sweets, candies and smoothies and mango drinks using Alphonso mango pulp.
An import ban imposed in 1989 by the United States on Indian mangoes, including the Alphonso, was lifted only in April 2007. However, the mangoes must be treated before entering the country in order to stop the introduction of non-native fruit flies, destructive fungi, and other pests that could cause great damage to American agriculture. The European Union imposed a ban from May 1, 2014, on import of mangoes, after alleging to have found unwanted pests such as "non-European fruit flies" in some consignments. Indian government has described this decision as arbitrary and businesses claimed they will lose hundreds of thousands of pounds due to the ban.
- Subramanian, Sarmishta (May 5, 2010). "The king of mangoes". Macleans. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
- BBC News: India's much-loved Alphonso mango hit by poor weather
- The Economic Times: Vagaries of nature, rising input costs to kill the famed Alphonso mango crop
- The Guardian (Newsblog): Do you know Alphonso mango?
- DNA News: Cold delays Alphonso mango's arrival in Mumbai