Being the most popular fruit of the country, Bangladesh has never felt the need for any international tag for its quality mangoes. Still, the tag of a GI (geographical indication) product for the country’s ‘Khirshapat’ mango has introduced it as a major fruit from Asia.
The tag awarded in 2019 was said to be helping create a broader export market for this mango of the country. It has, however, yet to be known officially the extent of export rise in the case of ‘Khirshapat’ variety of mango. The fruit is locally known as ‘Himsagar’. While Bangladesh nowadays produces different types of sweet and juicy mangoes, its ‘Khirshapat’ stands out with both its sweet taste and aroma. Unlike the commonly popular ‘Lengra’ variety, ‘Khirshapat’ doesn’t have any trace of sour taste.
India is globally known as the world’s largest mango-producing country. ‘Alphonso’, recognised as the king of all Indian mangoes, received a GI tag in 2018. Tasty mangoes are produced in different South and Southeast Asian countries. Of all these countries, Bangladesh has for ages been occupying a prestigious position with its mango varieties.
The traditional variety of mangoes has been indigenous to the land since the pre-Christ days. Like the present times, mango trees in rows or clusters have been a typical view offered by the Bangladesh villages since ancient times. Originally a South Asian fruit, mangoes have been growing in the region for over 4,000 years. In the past, they were regarded as sacred fruits. Mangoes eventually spread throughout Asia, and later to the other parts of the world.
Due to the mango’s large centre-seed, the fruit relied on human carriers to find it and spread throughout the world. According to some social historians, the mango was first discovered 25 to 30 million years ago in northeast India, Myanmar and Bangladesh. From this region it later travelled to southern India. Today, 50 per cent of the world’s mango output comes from India, occupying the first place among the mango producing countries. The present world’s major mango producing lands include India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and Egypt.
Although quality mangoes used to be grown amateurishly in the country’s southwestern region during the Mughal and British periods, professional mango farming had to wait for a long time to take firm root in the area. In the early days, only one single variety — ‘Fazli’, represented the total yields of the special and rich people’s mangoes. Bangladesh started to watch the widespread sale of the ‘Fazli’ mangoes at fruit corners only in the 1960s-`70s. Before that, hawkers would sell only the sweet-sour and highly fibrous local mangoes. Despite this disadvantage, the ‘deshi’ mangoes were enriched with the aroma common to mangoes in general.
It took many years for the mango wholesalers to adopt the client-cheating techniques to ripen the fruit artificially. The use of harmful chemicals to ripen green, hard mangoes remained a panicky idea for long in Bangladesh. The ‘Fazli’ mango market had yet to fall victim to this malpractice. But almost all quality mangoes such as Himsagar, Lengra, Amropali, Ranibhog, Gopalbhog etc. have fallen victim to cheating syndications of one kind or another time in recent years.
Source: Financial Express