The variety is named after Afonso de Albuquerque, a Portuguese general and military expert who helped establish Portuguese colonies in India. The Portuguese introduced grafting on mango trees to produce varieties like Alphonso. The Alphonso is also one of the most expensive varieties of mango, and is grown mainly in western India.
The Alphonso is a seasonal fruit, available mid-April through the end of June. The fruits generally weigh between 150 and 300 grams (5.3 and 10.6 oz), have a rich, creamy, tender texture and delicate, non-fibrous, juicy pulp. As the fruit matures, the skin of an Alphonso mango turns golden-yellow with a tinge of red across the top of the fruit.
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 needed to be treated before entering the country in order to stop the introduction of non-native fruit flies, destructive fungi, and other pests that could harm American agriculture. The European Union imposed a ban beginning in April 2014 on import of mangoes after finding "non-European fruit flies" in some consignments, creating a significant threat to UK salad crops. The Indian government had described this decision as arbitrary and businesses claimed they would suffer financial losses due to the ban.
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