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Parihar and his wife Rani made headlines in India after hiring security and watchdogs to protect their Guzaki mango orchards. The ruby-hued fruit known as Taiyo no Tamago (Egg of the Sun), which originally grows in southern Japan is as valuable as gold on the international market. A pair of mangoes was recently auctioned for $3000, and despite the speculation about the mango’s exorbitant price, experts in India are divided on whether the fruit grown in the country will meet the exacting standards of the international market.
However, it was not just the mangoes that drew everyone’s attention; it was also how Parihar purchased the saplings. “I was driving to Chennai to buy a variety of hybrid coconut plants. Because my reservation in the second AC was not confirmed, I was bumped up to first class, where I met a person selling these saplings,” Parihar explained. “We began talking, and the man offered to sell me a variety of plants. He said the saplings belonged to red, black, and purple mangoes. “I was ecstatic because I had never seen such a variety before,” he added. This is when Parihar decided to give the plants a try and purchased approximately 100 plants for a low cost.
It took two to three years for the trees to bear fruit after they were planted. “The 52 plants that have survived out of the 100 are of six different varieties of the world’s most expensive mangoes,” Parihar claims. There are currently 4-5 purple mangoes and 10-12 red mangoes in its orchard. Parihar, on the other hand, has no intention of selling the fruit, despite being offered a large sum of money for a single mango. “Right now, the focus is on growing more plants and dedicating an orchard solely to these trees,” he says. The couple hopes to increase production to 400-500 mangoes per year in the coming years.
The Miyazaki mango is a type of “Irwin” mango that is distinguished by its ruby red color. Miyazaki mangoes, as opposed to the yellow “pelican mango” that is widely grown in Southeast Asia, have the second largest production in Japan after Okinawa. According to the Miyazaki Local Products and Trade Promotion Center, they must meet stringent criteria before being distributed in the market. A pair of premium mangoes from Miyazaki Prefecture sold for a record $4500 in 2019. The fruit must meet strict criteria to qualify. Only mangoes that have fallen from the tree are harvested. Mangoes with the highest sugar content, weighing at least 350 grams, and having perfect, unblemished skin are considered the best quality. Indeed, the fruit’s high price is due in part to the effort and care that goes into growing it. To achieve the perfect color, Japanese farmers surround the mangoes with small nets that allow sunlight to evenly hit the skin, resulting in a ruby red color, as well as cushioning the fruit when it falls from the tree.
The fruit has very little fibrousness and is extremely juicy, with a taste described as “mango candy with hints of pineapple and coconut.” According to DR KK Saxena, former dean of Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishwa Vidyalaya, Jabalpur, there is no way to confirm that the mangoes are the Miyazaki until proper research is done on them. The fruit must be examined to determine if it is a hybrid and it is not guarantee that the fruit will be of the same quality as those exported or produced in Japan,” Saxena explained. He goes on to say that the mango was neither listed nor recognized in India and that it must go through a lengthy scientific process before being recognized. “You can’t grow a few trees and claim they’re of a particular variety. The fruit must be tested, and only if it can withstand various climatic conditions will it be recognized.”
Available in : Vietnamese