So many varieties give reason to celebrate the mango season

Published July 7, 2024
Different mango varieties are on display at the Pakistan Maritime Museum during the festival. — Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Different mango varieties are on display at the Pakistan Maritime Museum during the festival. — Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The three-day Mango Exhibition and Family Festival, which opened at the Pakistan Maritime Museum here on Friday, offered a good opportunity for visitors to know more about the mango varieties produced in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh.

Organised by the Pakistan Maritime Museum in collaboration with the Sindh Agriculture University Tandojam, the Pakistan Agriculture and Horticulture Forum and others, the exhibition had over 60 to 70 varieties of mangoes.

Wali Mohammed Baloch, executive director, Horticulture Research Centre, Mirpurkhas, had brought several mango varieties from Mirpurkhas.

“Around 12 varieties that we have brought here are commercial varieties such as the Sindhri, Langra, Chaunsa, Anwar Ratol, Baingan Phalli, Gulab Khas, etc. We have also brought a selection of the mango varieties that we have created at the research centre,” he said.

Three-day Mango Festival to conclude today

He told Dawn that they are currently experimenting with around 200 such varieties. “If we find that we have come up with something worthwhile, we give it to the mango growers,” he said.

He also showed one mango named ‘Mehran’. “The Mehran mango tree is said to bear fruit almost the entire year, save two months, January and July. The extreme cold weather in January affects its flowering and the extreme heat in July also has a similar effect,” he said.

Asked why so many people in the West say that some mangoes there lack flavour, he smiled and said that they must be picking them very raw and ripening them artificially.

Mohammed Hanif, Director Fruit Crafts from the Horticulture Research Centre in Mirpurkhas, made the effort to explain about the different names given to the different varieties of mangoes.

For instance one mango variety, which resembled a green parrot, was named ‘Tota Pari’. Another, which had a slightly bluish tint, was named ‘Neelum’.

Similarly, there was the normal Chaunsa variety there along with the White and Black Chaunsa.

“We look at the shape and colour of a mango variety with the eyes of a horticulturist in order to name them,” he said. “But usually, the person who has created a variety names it,” he added.

Dr Noor-un-Nisa Memon, also from the Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam, explained that any type of mango seed when planted doesn’t grow into the same mango tree. “It will always be a desi mango unless grafted with the kind of mango you want. So if grafted with Langra or Sindhri or any other kind of your choice, it will bear that fruit,” she said.

More on mangoes and some problems in growing them came from another agriculture expert, Erum Taimoor Mughal, from Mirpurkhas. “New fruit growers should consult the experts on prevention of plant diseases,” she said.

“We have done a lot of research in this field. The usual thinking is that pesticides are to be sprayed to deal with plant diseases but we have other, far better solutions such as bio control. There are also beneficial insects that can help the help plants,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sindh Agriculture Minister Muhammad Bux Mahar inaugurated the three-day festival.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that orchards in Sindh were being affected, and efforts were being made to establish modern research centres to improve mango production.

He added that such events were being organised to promote mangoes globally and to introduce new varieties to other countries.

Pakistan is the sixth-largest producer and fourth-largest exporter of mangoes in the world, with over 200 varieties, he said, adding that the purpose of the festival is to aware farmers about modern farming techniques and to promote mango production.

The minister announced that a bigger mango show will be organised in Karachi next year.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2024

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