Mango

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Mango

Contents

General Information

The mango fruit tree (Mangifera indica L.) is the most important tropical fruit after the banana. Nonetheless, due to its sensitivity to bruising, in terms of numbers, fresh mango plays only a small role in world trade. Mango has been disseminated for many years, and is cultivated in all warm countries down to the sub-tropics.

Uses and contents

Mango has many uses. Young fruits whose tegument have not yet hardened are used in Asiatic countries as a vegetable, fresh or pickled. Ripened fruits are eaten fresh everywhere, can be made into juice or marmalade, or dried and made into candy. All remnants from the fruits can be used as animal feed; most commonly for pigs. The young leaves are very good as cattle feed, because they have a protein content of 8-9% as well as a high Ca content. The bark and leaves of mango trees can also be used as a dye for cloth. The wood of the trees is highly suitable for making charcoal.

Diversification strategies

In Africa, mangoes are planted in the mixed crop systems of the house gardens in small farm holdings, or on extensively cultivated meadows and marginal ground, where relatively acceptable harvests can be achieved.

On organic farms, mango trees should be integrated into a mixed crop system. This will reduce the risk of pests through a large population of useful insects.

Annual plants such as maize and beans can be planted during the early growth period, according to site conditions. If the soil and climatic conditions allow, more demanding crops such as papaya (a culture with a 3-5 year vegetation period), bananas (20 years and longer) as well as avocado, mangosteen (Rheedia ssp.), corossol (Anona muricata), coconut, lemons, nutmeg and many more can also be planted along with mango.

The following criteria should be heeded when choosing plants to include in a cultivation system with mango:

  • Intercropping plants as well as green cover crops cannot be watered for a 2-month phase during the dry period or the mangoes will form an insufficient amount of blossoms.
  • The bottom crops should not contain a high percentage of legumes, because the accumulation of nitrogen would otherwise inhibit the growth of the Mango tree, which then limits the production of fruit.

Harvest and post-harvest handling

Treatment

With hundreds of varieties, mangoes are differentiated by:

  • Weight (250g to 2kg);
  • Shape (oval, pear or kidney-shaped);
  • Colour of the skin (green, yellow, orange-yellow, orange-red);
  • Taste (more or less aromatically sweet).

The flesh is yellow to yellow-orange, juicy, and has varying fiber content according to variety. Fruits with high fiber content are generally not sold as fresh fruit, but are processed to remove fibres. Mangoes have many different uses. Ripe fruits can be eaten fresh, or processed into juice, pulp, concentrate, candied fruits, jams, chutneys, canned fruits or dried.

If the mangoes are to be sold as fresh fruits, they must be treated with warm bath water to remove any dirt or fungi from the peel. It is recommendable to place them in a 55°C water bath for 5 minutes and then let them cool down slowly. Afterwards, they are dried, sorted, classified, packed and stored before shipment.

Harvesting

A mango plantation will supply its first commercially marketable amount of fruit around 4-5 years after being planted. At the end of the fruit’s development period, the peel will turn leathery. The fruit is ripe for harvesting when the skin has turned from green to red, or yellow.

Some farmers wait to harvest until the first fruits have fallen to the ground. Yet, because the fruits fail to ripen at the same time, the colour change must nevertheless be checked regularly. The fruits are harvested by breaking them off or with a pair of scissors. A pair of steps or a cherry-picker will be needed for tall trees. With medium tall trees (up to 4 m), the fruits can be picked individually with the help of a harvesting rod. Too many fruits should not be placed into one sack in order to avoid bruising them. Such fruits will not keep for long, and cannot be sold as fresh. Any damaged fruits should be separated during harvesting to prevent the spread of fungus infections.

Post-harvest treatment

Usually, post harvest handling is not required. For safety reasons, treatment with warm water is recommended and is absolutely necessary in cases of anthracnose infection.

The fruits are packed into sturdy cases. They are sorted visually, because machine sorting is expensive and complicated. For export to Europe, sizes from 270g to 335g are preferable. The fruits are generally packed in untreated wood wool, free from harmful substances, to prevent them lying too close to one another.

The cases must also be well aerated. Cartons which hold 5kg of fruit have become standard for export to Europe, as this size is also easily managed in the retail business.

Packaging and storage

Packaging

The regulations concerning carton labelling were dealt with in the following section of the “UN/ECE standard FFV – 45 for mangoes”.

Storage

Mangoes that are not fully ripened and are to be shipped by sea should be stored at a relative humidity of 90% and not under 12°C.

Fully ripened mangoes that are to be shipped by sea should be stored at a relative humidity of 90% and at a temperature of 10°C.

Product specifications and quality standards

The “UN/ECE standard FFV – 45” defines the quality requirements for trading with fresh mangoes. These do not necessarily have to be adhered to, but rather serve as recommended guidelines. Mangoes intended for export are not included.

Different minimum and maximum values can be agreed upon between importers and exporters, providing they do not clash with official regulations.

The following is an excerpt from “UN/ECE standard FFV – 45 for mangoes”

(I) Defining Terms

These standards apply to mangoes Mangifera indica L., which are delivered fresh to consumers.

(II) Quality Characteristics Regulations

a. Minimum Requirements

The mangoes must be as follows:

  • Fresh and healthy
  • Clean, practically free of visible foreign substances;
  • Practically free of pests and damage caused by them;
  • Free of fungus;
  • Free of bruising and frost-damage;
  • Free of strange taste or smell;
  • Well developed, ripe.

b. Classifications

Mangoes are sold in three categories:

  • Class Extra. Mangoes in this class must be of the highest quality. They must possess the characteristics typical of their variety and/or trading type. The fruits must be unblemished, with the exception of very light surface flaws that do not detract from the fruit’s general appearance, quality, the time it will keep.
  • Class 1. Mangoes in this class must be of good quality. They must possess the characteristics typical of their variety and/or trading type. The following blemishes are permissible, providing they do not detract from the fruit’s general appearance, quality, the time it will keep and the presentation of the bunch or cluster in its packaging:

Slightly misshapen Light flaws in the skin caused by friction or by other means, providing the area does not exceed 3, 4 or 5 cm2 of the total surface area of the appropriate size class A, B, or C.

Class 2. This class is composed of those mangoes that cannot be placed in the upper classes, yet which fulfil the definitions of minimum requirements. The following faults are allowed, providing the mangoes retain their essential characteristics in terms of quality, preservation and presentation:

Shape defects, Skin flaws, caused by scratches, friction or other means, providing the area does not exceed 5, 6 or 7 cm2 of the total surface area of the appropriate size class A, B, or C.

(III) Size Classification Regulations

Mangoes are sorted according to their weight. The fruits must weigh at least 200 grams. Size Classes Weight Maximum Differences in Weight within a Class A: 200 - 350g 75g B: 351 - 550g 100g C: 551 - 800g 125g

(IV) Presentation Regulations

a. Uniformity

The contents of a carton must be uniform, and may only contain mangoes of identical origin, variety and/or trade type, and quality. The visible part of the carton must be representative of the entire contents.

b. Packaging

The mangoes must be packed in a way that ensures they are sufficiently protected. Packing material used inside the carton must be new, clean, and so shaped that it cannot cause any damage to either the inside or outside of the fruit. The usage of materials such as papers and stickers with company details on them is permitted providing the no toxic inks, dyes or glues have been used. The packaging must be free of all other materials.

(V) Regulations of Carton Labelling

Each carton must display the following details in unbroken, legible, permanent letters visible from the outside:

a. Identification

Name and address of the exporter and packer.

b. Type of Product

“Mangoes”, when the contents are not visible. Name of the variety.

c. Origin of Product

Country of origin, and optionally, national, regional or local description.

d. Commercial Characteristics

Class. Size (expressed in min. and max. weight). Size code (optional). Number of fruits.


Sources and References

Bibliography

FiBL, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland (2011). African Organic Agriculture Training Manual. Soil Fertility Management. [Accessed 19 March 2012]

FiBL, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland (2011). African Organic Agriculture Training Manual. Conversion to Organic Farming. [Accessed 19 March 2012]

FiBL, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland (2011). African Organic Agriculture Training Manual. Crop Management. [Accessed 21 March 2012]


FiBL (2011): African Organic Agriculture Training Manual. Version 1.0 June 2011. Edited by Gilles Weidmann and Lukas Kilcher. Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick. [Accessed 12 July 2012]

FiBL, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, Switzerland (2011). African Organic Agriculture Training Manual. Soil Fertility Management. [Accessed 19 March 2012]

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