a splendid harvest in Bani
Mango (Mangifera indica) belongs to the Anacardiaceae family. It is one of the most marketed tropical fruit worldwide, after the avocado and banana. It is native to tropical Asia. The mango tree can grow up to 30 meters in height. Its trunk is robust with thick and rough bark and its leaves are dark green. The fruit is fleshy with fibers and it is commonly oval-shaped, although it can be round. The skin is soft and waxy and fresh to the touch; it can be green, orange or reddish. The pulp is yellow or orange when it ripens; it is juicy and soft with a delicate, sweet taste. The size of the fruit generally varies from 5 to 25 centimeters in length, and the weight fluctuates between 50 grams to more than 2 kilograms, depending on the variety.
Mango is consumed in its natural state, although it is used in gastronomy, as well as in the preparation of soft drinks, ice creams, jams and sweets. Among the mango’s nutritional properties, it is worth mentioning that it contains the following nutrients: iron, proteins, calcium, fiber, potassium, iodine, zinc, carbohydrates, magnesium and sodium. It is rich in vitamins A, thus making it an excellent antioxidant, B, C, E, and K. Sucrose represents 12.5% of its content, providing its delicious flavor.
The mango is native to tropical Asia where it is known since ancient times. Evidence exists that in the 8th century it was a well- known fruit, grown in the warmest parts of China and Indochina. The early prominence of the mango in India comes to light by the fact that Akbar, the great Mughal of that country during the 16th century, possessed an orchard with 100,000 mango trees. By the 10th century, Persian traders brought it to the Middle East and Africa. Afterwards, it arrived in Europe during the 16th century. The Portuguese transported the mango fruit from Bombay to the South of Africa, and from there to Brazil and the Caribbean islands. Currently, it is cultivated throughout a wide range of countries, such as: India, Indonesia, United States (Florida), Mexico, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines and in the Caribbean.
The mango is a tropical and sub-tropical region crop. It requires average annual temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius for adequate production. The best yield comes from places that receive between 750 and 1,300 millimeters of water with a well-defined dry season. The plants thrive in deep, medium or light soils with good internal drainage and soil that is rich in organic material and with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Mango can be propagated through grafting or by seed. Most of the varieties are produced through grafting since uniformity can be obtained in the trees and fruits.
A great diversity exists in mango varieties. The most popular can be classified in three groups: reds, very popular in the international market, especially in the United States; greens, sought after in the European market, and yellows, preferred by the Asian and Latin population. Noteworthy among these three groups are: the Red variety: Kent, of large size and yellow-orange color with reddish skin when they are ripe. It has an oval shape, pleasant taste and are juicy, with little fiber and high sugar content. The Haden and Tommy Atkins varieties are also in this group; the Yellow variety: Ataulfo, medium to small-sized, low in fiber, is produced in Mexico; the Manila Super, produced in the Philippines, which is flat and elongated; the Green variety: Keith, oval-shaped and medium to large-sized, with a low fiber pulp and the Amelie variety, which is native to West Africa.
Mango planting and production in the Dominican Republic
It is estimated that 3,584 hectares of mango are systematically planted in the country. The mango crop is distributed within the southeastern region, represented by Peravia and San Cristobal, both of which contain the greatest plantation areas, 40% within the former and 17% in the latter. Mango is also grown in the northeastern region, in Dajabon (9%) and Santiago Rodríguez (3%); the eastern region, in El Seibo (7%) and the southeastern province of Azua ( 9%) and San Juan de La Maguana (4%).
Mango production in the Dominican Republic can be differentiated between the local variety, which grows spontaneously and is widespread throughout the country; and organized production, recently implemented. The local mango is intended for domestic use. The most known varieties are: Banilejo, Guerrero, Mamellito and the Fabrico. Lately, varieties from other countries have been introduced, which have developed in commercial plantations, with production for the local market as well as for exportation. There are no official statistics available regarding the amount of hectares planted. The mango harvest has increased rapidly during the last years and subsequently the volume of exportation. The country aims to be the leader in Central America and the Caribbean regarding the export of this fruit to the United States and Europe. The Mango Cluster of the Dominican Republic informed that the country has close to 4,000 hectares for an extensive list of mango varieties and that in 2011, some 350 containers of mango, about 7000 tons, were exported. The Dominican Republic’s export markets for mango include Germany, the U.K., Spain, France and Holland.