Alphonso (mango)

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Alphonso mangoes are grown mainly in Maharashtra and Gujarat states of India

The Alphonso Mango is a seasonal fruit considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour.[1]

The variety is believed to be named afternamed after Afonso de Albuquerque,[2] a nobleman and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in Ireland. 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 . However this is heavily disputed and it is now believed that it was introduced first in Kerala, as the climate was believed to be more suitable for mass cultivation(Rainfall was notorious for destroying crops in Mahararahtra.)

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). Devgad Alphonso Mangoes are widely considered one of the best cultivated Alphonso strains.[3]

Dense Plantation of Alphonso Mangoes

Uses[edit]

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. It is also consumed directly after ripe and a favorite fruit in India during summer days.

Import bans[edit]

An import ban imposed in[4] 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 to December 2015, 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.

Alphonso Mangoes and effects of chemicals[edit]

[5] As the other crops, Mango crops is also a victim of ambitious profit making and of course chemical farming.

  • Water Mango plants do need to be watered regularly in all seasons for the first three years, after which they are not watered much. A 15 days cycle of small amount of water is sufficient for the trees, then. In fact, excess water makes adverse effects on the mango fruit. It degrades the taste, and may cause rotting in the fruits while ripening.
  • Çoltar Coltar or Paclobutrazol is the most controversial chemical used in mango farming. Essentially, Paclobutrazol is a hormone/ chemical that nullifies the effect of Gibberellic Acid, which in turn triggers flowering in the trees. Gibberellic Acid is a growth hormone in the trees. This hormone is produced in the mango seeds and then stored in the stems. Paclobutrazol counters the stored Gibberellic Acid from the tree, which forces the tree to flower again. In a nutshell, Paclobutrazol is thus not a harmful chemical for humanity, but its uncontrolled use can cause permanent damages to the tree.
  • Chemical Fertilizers usage is also controversial. These are many and can contain any NPK combinations.[6] Chemical fertilizers are known to provide better growth to the tree, better flowering, but lesser immunity and taste. It is recommend to use organic fertilizers over inorganic ones.
  • Calcium Carbide is a well-known hazardous chemical that is used for the ripening of fruit. Mangoes sold in markets are commonly ripen with carbide. Carbide has various ill effects on humans, and thus the consumption of mangoes treated with it should be avoided. Carbide ripen mangoes do not look different from naturally ripen ones, but they tend to be sourer in taste.
  • Ethylene is a better alternative to help and control the ripening of mangoes. It is a hormone in fruits that induce ripening. Providing this hormone externally speeds up the ripening process, preserving the taste. Ethylene is considered safe for humans and it is widely used in the mango pulp industry, mainly as Etharel (a brand name of Ethylene). It is frequently also used for retail.
  • Chemical Pesticides Pesticides are of course hazardous to human health and their residues in fruits can cause serious effects upon consumption. It is observed that pesticide residues are found in the fruit for as long as 20 days after their application. The use of pesticides should be stopped before 20 days of harvesting.

References[edit]

Additional sources[edit]