BHOPAL, India — A couple in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have hired four security guards and six watchdogs to protect what is perhaps their most prized possession: Two Miyazaki mango trees.
According to the orchardists Sankalp Parihar and his wife Rani, a customer in Mumbai recently offered INR 21,000 ($283) for one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the Japanese variety of the fruit.
“Some people told me that the variety of mango sold at INR 270,000 ($3,641) per kilogram in the market last year,” said Parihar. “A customer from Mumbai has offered me INR 21,000 ($283).”
When the couple planted two saplings years ago, they had no idea that the tree would bear ruby-colored Japanese mangoes.
Miyazaki mangoes are said to be one of the most expensive mangoes globally. They are called “eggs of the sun” due to their shape and flaming red color.
Local thieves had broken into their orchards and tried to steal saplings after word spread about the exotic fruit. The couple has now hired security and employed dogs to prevent theft of this rare fruit.
Miyazaki mangoes get their name from the Miyazaki prefecture in Japan, where they are grown. Warm temperatures, fertile land, and plenty of rain make this area perfect for growing this fruit. Miyazaki Prefecture has about 52.7 sunny days per year.
Farmers in that region started cultivating this variety of mango in 1985. While more and more farms joined the experiment, they faced challenges protecting this delicate fruit from bruising easily.
After trial and error, farmers devised ways like placing nets under the trees and around the fruit to keep their precious bounty intact. These nets help the mangoes get enough sunlight for even color and optimal ripeness.
A ripe Miyazaki mango has very little fiber and high sugar content of at least 15 percent.
The variety is cultivated around April to August and sold between May and June. The price of Miyazaki mangoes generally peaks during the wholesale auctions between April and June.
“Mangoes are generally high in sugar content and should be eaten in a limited quantity. People with diabetes should not eat mangoes of any variety in large quantities,” says Jasleen Kaur, a Delhi-based dietician and nutritionist.
“However, besides the high sugar content, mangoes are rich in nutrients and provide many dietary benefits.”
Kaur says that all mangoes are a good source of antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamin A and C, and folic acid.
India has a wide variety of mangoes that differ in taste, shape, and size. The alphonso mango, with its high sugar content and unique flavor, is highly prized across the world.
(With inputs from ANI)
(Edited by Ojaswin Kathuria and Anindita Ghosh)
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