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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 extraordinary varieties like Alphonso. The fruit was then introduced to the Konkan region in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and some parts of southern state of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.
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 mangoes are often discussed as a popular cultivar. Alphonso mangoes have a rich, creamy, tender texture and are low in fiber content, with a delicate, creamy pulp. These characteristics make Alphonso one of the most in-demand cultivars. The skin of a fully ripe Alphonso mango turns bright golden yellow with a tinge of red which spreads across the top of the fruit. The flesh of the fruit is golden saffron colour.
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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- 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