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The variety is believed to be 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 . 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 Maharashtra).
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.
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.
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 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.
- Subramanian, Sarmishta (May 5, 2010). "The king of mangoes". Macleans. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
- Sejal Sukhadwala. "Do you know Alphonso mango? | Life and style". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- "The King at your Doorstep". Indianexpress.com. 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- "Indo-US Trade in Wheat and Mango: A Game-Theoretic Approach to SPS Standards" (PDF). Iimahd.ernet.in. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- BBC News: India's much-loved Alphonso mango hit by poor weather
- BBC News: Ban on Indian mango imports to EU comes into force
- 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