Say it with flowers? In Asia, they say it with mangoes. A basketful is a token of friendship in India, home of the mango, while this juicy fruit is a symbol throughout the region of love, good fortune, and generosity.
Everybody loves a mango, and now we can celebrate – it’s Mango Day on 22 July.
ACIAR projects in Asia and the Pacific have built close ties with our neighbours and brought prosperity to their smallholder farmers, as we help them grow and sell this fruit.
Mangoes aren’t just delicious, they’re healthy, too. It’s hardly surprising that they should be the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines, and Bangladesh’s national tree.
Mangoes are one of Pakistan’s most important fruit crops, and the country produces 4% of the world’s harvest each year. Our project there is helping smallholder Pakistani farmers earn more money from growing mangoes, as well as from producing citrus fruit, dairy and livestock.
|Covered mangoes in Myanmar|
The Royal Government of Cambodia intends to grow and export more mangoes, the country’s second most important fruit crop. Our project will help to build a resilient mango industry in Cambodia and in Australia through improved production and supply chain practices.
|Espaliered mango trees in Australia - for easy maintenance and picking|
According to a Filipino legend, a good fairy buried the heart of a poor but generous man on top of a hill; in that place grew a heart-shaped fruit: the mango. Smallholder farmers are some of the poorest people in the Philippines; their incomes depend on growing fruit and vegetables, but production yields and fruit quality are declining because of pests, diseases, poorly nourished trees, and the high costs of inputs.
|Dr Paula Ibell with a tagged mango tree in the Philippines - tags allow measurement and data on pruning and tree maintenance|
Our projects are enhancing incomes and livelihoods for smallholders and their communities. We are improving value chains for fruit and vegetables, including mango; developing integrated agriculture methods so farmers can earn long-term benefits from growing mango; and improving management so fewer mangoes are lost after harvesting.
All this research work should result in healthier mango trees, better mango transport methods and improved livelihoods for small scale farmers. And more mangos for us all to eat!
by Nick Fuller
Read more about our mango projects: