In India at least, mango (Mangifera indica L./Family Anacardiaceae) is the ‘queen’ of fruits. Most probably, it is so, worldwide! Let me inform you that most probably, except me, everyone perceives, thinks and calls the mango as ‘king’. It is up to you to decide whether mango is a king or queen of fruits. In the recent days of political correctness and gender neutrality, I have no definite answers for the above jigsaw puzzle. I know, it is like asking someone, ‘whether egg came first or the chicken? Let it be what it is, mango! ’Such problems are as gigantic as the Bermuda Triangle mystery—is not it? Or, maybe it is existential in nature, better to skip for the time being.
Mango originated from Southeast Asia. Historical data suggest that mango has been cultivated for the last six thousand years. India and China are the major producers of the fruit. With the advancement of innovative horticultural techniques, Mango is now cultivated in other parts of the world, as well, with varying degrees of success. Admittedly, India is a major producer and exporter of varieties of exotic and palatable mangoes; which have recurring demands in overseas markets.
Combined together, countries such as China, Thailand, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Myanmar and Egypt cultivate half of the total global output of mango; while India accounts for more than 50 percents or at an average of more than 22 million metric tonnes per year. Traditionally, farmers in Indian states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha (Orissa), Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, etc. are the major cultivation areas of mango. However, other states of India too, cultivate mango to varied extent. Local varieties of mango trees also grow wild in the forests of these states, adding diversity to the fruit. Some varieties are rare and exotic with unique tastes of their own, mainly available for consumption to the local population. Rapid shrinkage of the forest covers in India and over-exploitation of the fruits of the local species are reasons of much concern and even if some of the mangoes are commercially unviable at present; yet, to preserve the biodiversity, consorted efforts are required to protect the mango tree species heading for extinction.