Why is mango called a national fruit

India: The Indians and their mango

What the asparagus means to the Germans is their mango to the Indians: the season only lasts a hundred days because the fruits perish quickly. During this time, lovers of the fruit enjoy their spicy sweetness to the fullest. This year, the EU import ban brought the country a special glut of mango.

When the fist-sized, yellow-green fruit comes on the table, the Indians go into raptures:“There are only two seasons in India: the monsoons and the mangoes. The one refreshes the earth, the other the soul ”is often quoted on the subcontinent during the mango season.

First, the thirst of the soul is met: The Indian mango season, which starts in April and lasts into July, is ended by the monsoon rains coming from the south. Mango lovers, and there are tons of them in India, only have a hundred days to enjoy their favorite fruit.

India is a problematic country. The 1.2 billion inhabitants are divided into many groups:There is the caste system, the different ethnic groups, languages ​​and religions and the extreme landscapes from the desert to the high mountains. All of these conditions have shaped a society with great contradictions.

But the love for the mangoes unites the Indians- and yet there are again discussions in this area. Because the debates about which of the 50 varieties is the tastiest and which region grows the best fruits are conducted with great passion. Real connoisseurs order their goods up to a year in advancewith the farmer their trust. For some, the mangoes are a status symbol and they pay a lot of money for the yield of a particular tree.

15 million tons of mangoes are produced in India every year,that's half of the world's production. The Indians are proud of their "Aam", as it is called in Hindi, they classify it as their national fruit. In fact, mangoes have been produced on the subcontinent for over 4,000 years. From here they were distributed by Persian traders.

Hardly any other fruit can be prepared in as many ways as the mango: It is added to desserts and hot curries, it is used unripe for chutneys and when fully ripe it is pressed into juice. But the Indians prefer to eat their mangoes straight:On the hot summer nights they settle down in the villages in front of their houses and in the city in the parks, a bucket of ice water in front of them. Every now and then they fish a fruit from it, peel off the skin and suck the flesh out.

“We deal with the models among the mangos,” says Kartik Batra, whose fourth generation family sells the “Queen of Fruits”, as the Indians call her. Safeda is the name of the variety that the Batras offer for sale. “It's the kind you know from TV and the newspapers. Not only does it taste great, it is also very photogenic, ”says the 19-year-old between the thousands of boxes filled with mangoes at the Azadpur wholesale market in northern New Delhi.

The sale takes place in the traditional way: Kartik's father Krishan is just shaking hands with a potential buyer under a tea towel. At the touch of a finger, they agree on a secret price for five boxes with which the greengrocer wants to please his customers.

The business with mangoes is urgent: once picked, they can only be kept for five days.The Indian railroad therefore transports the precious fruit to the wholesale markets in special trains, known as the Mango Express. The world's largest courier service DHL also advertises a service called Mango-Express: Indians use it to send the fruit to their friends and relatives living abroad. Most of the crates are on their way to the Gulf States by air freight, where six million Indian guest workers are hired.

The year 2014 is a special highlight for mango lovers: Since May 1st an import ban has been imposed on the European Union was imposed on the Indian mangoes because of insect infestation, the noble variety Alfonso, otherwise reserved for export, is available in abundance.Given the sudden oversupply of the species bred around Mumbai, prices are falling dramatically.

At a price of the equivalent of four euros for a dozen, the Alfonsos are suddenly also available to the Indian middle class. The menus of the better restaurants in New Delhi reflect the oversupply: The Italians currently serve spaghetti with mango strips, the Japanese maki, in which yellowfish is wrapped around yellow fruit wedges, and the many Indians can refer to “Everything with mango "Menus intoxicating.

The importance of the mango for the Indians can be seen from how much the EU import ban has hurt national pride.The Times of Indiaeven processed the topic in an editorial. "These nervous Europeans are afraid of some fruit flies in our mango exports, they are afraid that the flies will devastate their tomatoes and cucumbers, ”the newspaper reported. "How can you sacrifice the queen of fruits for a salad!"

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Source:Giving hands-Editorial staff; according to information from: "Spiegel Online", spiegel.de

Tags:India, mango, fruit, harvest, mango express, EU import ban, insect infestation, trade, prices, production