It’s the season again people, the season of and for Mangoes.
The History of Mangoes
The mango has been the most popular tropical fruit since 2000 BC or earlier.
Of the genus Mangifera and flowering plant family, Anacardiaceae this flesh stone fruit is native to the Indian subcontinent from where it spread round the world.
There are over 400 varieties of mango around the world. Wow.
How Mangoes Came to Nigeria
Apparently, Persians took mangoes to East Africa in the 10th Century and then the Portuguese brought it to West Africa in the 16th century.
When exactly did it come to Nigeria? Not sure but the internet says it was in the late 19th Century through travelling salesmen :), (like Jollof rice perhaps?), missionaries and colonialists and I believe it.
There are also reports that the government of Southern Nigeria received mango cultivars from the Botanical Gardens of Jamaica in 1898 (Adejoh, 1980). These were planted at the Botanical Gardens of old Calaba and spread to other parts of Nigeria adapting easily due to our fantastic climate; Bayero Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences
According to a number of studies, Nigeria is in the Top 10 mango producing countries. In 2006, we ranked 8th. By 2011, we were 9th in the world, ahead of the Phillipines. And…guess what? We are the only African country in the Top 10. Not bad.
Saying all this, I would expect us to be in the Top 10 exporting countries but…no, we’re not. Probably because of me. And you. Eating our fortunes away :). Majority of the top producers come from Asia and Latin America.
Source: Maps of World
I’m amazed at the variety of mangoes we have in Nigeria. I’ve come across 5 or 6 but there are records of up to ten cultivars from the Indian Alphonso, Zill, Julie, Palmer, Keitt, Lippens, Saigon, Edward, Haden and Early gold.
Some of the local names I know are Sherry (Cheri, Sheri, Cherry?), Kerosene, Peter, German, Jane, Enugu and Ogbomosho mangoes.
Pictured below from top to bottom, we have Peter (green), Enugu and Opioro mangoes.
Did you know?
Soon? And exploration of the different varieties and how best to use them.
Peace & Love.