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Mangoes - Indians' pride -

nabadip - Mon, 13 Jun 2005 14:42:02 +0530
U.P. mangoes in high demand

Besides Dussehri, Chausa and Langda varities are in much demand abroad

"The choicest fruit of Hindustan", Amir Khusro once described mango in his Persian verse!
nabadip - Mon, 13 Jun 2005 16:38:11 +0530
Sellers make hay as Jamai Sashti shines

Statesman News Service

KRISHNAGAR, June 12. — A day before Jamai Sashti, markets in Nadia remained crowded even though the prices of most fruits, sweets, vegetables and fishes remained high.

While the mango growers of Krishnaganj, Hanshkhali, Chapra and Krishnagar (east) blocks in Nadia had been resorting to distress sale for the past one month owing to poor-quality yield this season, with the time to spoil the Jamais around, mangoes are selling at high prices at various fruit markets. The prices of others fruits like lichhis and apples are also climbed a lot.

The fruit market feel-good percolated to the vegetable and fish marts as well as the sellers had no dearth of consumers who kept queuing up in front of their stalls in spite of the high prices. On Jamai Sashti, the bride’s family gets together to give a royal treat to the son-in-law of the house. The Jamai or the son-in-law is treated with his favourite delicacies by his parents-in-laws this day to ensure he treats their daughter with due respect for the rest of the year. A social custom, it is held in the Bengali month of Jaistha (May-June) every year.

As the traditional menu includes various fish delicacies, special sweets, curds and fruits, the demands for these food items climb so high, that customers can abandon all hopes for securing a bargain. In fact, the demand is so high that many customers who go to the markets late, return empty handed more often than not. To avoid this, most families prefer to do their shopping the day before Jamai Sashti.

“The price doesn’t worry us,” Mrs Santilata Biswas, a regular at Ranaghat rail market said. Fruit sellers say that the prices of mangoes will remain high until the supply of quality mangoes increases. Growers say nature played havoc this year with the quality and size of Kesar, Langda and Alphanso, forcing people to turn to inferior varieties.

According to the traders, most of the customers this time chose to buy the Himsagar variety to treat their sons-in-law. This variety is being sold at Rs 300 and Rs 350 for every hundred pieces, the price climbing by Rs 100 in just two days.
nabadip - Tue, 21 Jun 2005 18:07:44 +0530
Maangani festival today

Special Correspondent, the Hindu

PONDICHERRY: The Siruthonda Naayanaar Tiruthondu Sabha is making necessary arrangements to celebrate the `Maangani festival` in Sri Tirupurasundari Samedha Sri Vedapureeswarar temple (one of the few ancient shrines in Pondicherry) on Tuesday.

A release said special abishekams and poojas would be performed to the presiding deity in the morning and a chariot carrying the idol of Karaikal Ammayyar with hundreds of mangoes would be taken round the temple in its inner prahara.

nabadip - Mon, 04 Jul 2005 19:46:32 +0530
Nadia basks in mango glory!

Biswabrata Goswami
in Krishnagar
The Statesman

July 3. — Mango enthusiasts in Nadia may smack their lips in delight at the thought of biting into the special variety of mango, Amrapalli, which bagged the first prize in the recently held state mango show at Satya Chowdhury indoor stadium in Malda.

The Nadia mango growers have been able to prove themselves, in the matter of producing the best quality mangoes, since other varieties such as Chausha, Golapkhash and Ranipasant have also earned them special awards.

The Nadia district has also been declared first with regard to grafted plants among other participating districts such as 24 Parganas(North, South), Murshidabad, Malda, Dinajpur and Midnapur in the show.

Dr Dipak Ghosh, an assistant horticulturist (Research) of the Nadia Horticulture Research Centre said: “The district has bagged eight awards in the Malda show, five of which have gone to the farmers. Although the number of participants was low, yet we are happy that at least some farmers have benefited from our guidance. Such mango shows would become more viable if more growers can be roped in.”

The show, which is more of a festival, organised jointly by the Malda zilla parishad, Malda Chamber of Commerce and the department of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture of the state government, has, however left a bitter taste in the mouth of the farmers.

Mr Kamal Biswas, a mango grower from Krishnaganj said, “We need to be taught how to increase the shelf life of the mangoes that we produce. Most of the growers are ignorant about exports. Consequently they have no other option apart from selling their produce in the domestic markets. The government should concentrate on educating farmers on how to improve the quality of their products”.

Another grower of Krishnagar, Mr Ajoy Pramanik, alleged: “There is no justification in organising such mango festivals unless they bring in profits for the growers. During the festival, the farmers just got to talk to some people interested in mango production. At the end of the day they were, however, compelled to sell their produce at the lowest price available. Such a festival would be justified only if it was organised in some other states as well. Only then would we get the expected economic mileage out of them”.

This year, the mango growers of Krishnaganj, Hanshkhali, Chapra and Krishnagar (east) blocks in Nadia had to resort to distress sale as they were saddled with poor quality crop, had no storage facilities for their produce and lacked necessary means of transportation.

Owing to these circumstances, although mango growers sell their produce for Rs 3 to Rs 5 per kg, the consumer buys them for not less than 20 to Rs 30 per kg in the retail fruit market.

An official, of the district horticulture, department when asked about the matter said: “Despite West Bengal producing nearly 200 varieties of mango, some of which, particularly the Langra and the Dusheri, are sweeter than the better known Alphanso of Maharashtra, we continue to lag behind when it comes to exports. This is largely because of the lack of infrastructure in our state and problems related to packaging of mangoes given the fact of their short shelf-life”. The Nadia farmers also face difficulties in procuring agricultural loans from the banks. They blamed the zilla parishad and the district administration for not taking any initiative for helping them.
nabadip - Mon, 04 Jul 2005 20:51:26 +0530
Indian summer heralds ‘king of fruits’
- By Harish C. Menon
Asian Age

New Delhi, July 3: They slowly begin to surface in April. By June they are everywhere, taking over the nation’s culinary rituals and get-togethers and suddenly the Indian subcontinent is hailing the king of fruits — mango.

In north India, toddlers learning their first lesson make no mistakes when it comes to the second letter — aa — of the Hindi alphabet as they read aloud aa se aam. While the normal cut-and-eat method is preferred only as a matter of civility, given a chance most people would simply dig their teeth and gorge the delicious fruit. Some take pleasure in suckling the sumptuous seed of the fruit. Pickling raw mango is a favourite preserve and served as part of traditional sub-continental meals.

The fruit has held several legendary poets like Kalidasa, Amir Khusrau and Mirza Ghalib under its luscious spell. Kalidasa (353-420 AD) in his epic poem Ritusamharam said: "Intoxicated by the nectar of mango blossoms, the koel (cuckoo) kisses his mate happily in love... The lovely mango shoot is his (Love God Manmatha’s) choicest arrow, the swarm of bees is his bow string."

The country’s political leaders have often used mangoes as a tool of diplomatic nicety. Late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, himself a lover of mangoes, made it a point to introduce the fruit to the countries he visited. There are nearly 1,000 varieties of mangoes in India, out of which 20 are grown commercially. However, India ranks only sixth in terms of productivity and is far behind in exports.

"Productivity is also low because in recent years the area under cultivation has drastically gone up. It takes between four to eight years for fruition and so the results would be seen only later," said Ajay Verma, principal scientist, Central Institute for Subtropical Horticulture in Lucknow. "Most varieties of mangoes grown by farmers do not even reach the urban centres in India as people there have no idea about what is available," said Hans Raj, a mango-trader from Moradabad.

"I have spent 40 years selling mangoes and have seen many new varieties being introduced. But the customer’s excitement has remained the same when it comes to mangoes. The mangoes sell in no time," Mr Raj said. "After all, it is the king of fruits!" (IANS)
nabadip - Thu, 14 Jul 2005 21:39:13 +0530
UP Tourism brings chosen mango varieties

UNI/ New Delhi , The Pioneer

After delicious birayanis, qormas and kababas of Avadh, Delhiites can now treat their palate to exotic varieties of mangoes and preparations based on the 'king of fruits' from Uttar Pradesh.

Encouraged by the roaring success of the Avadh Food Festival here, the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department is bringing to the capital all mouth-watering varieties of mangoes at a three-day festival opening at Dilli Haat from July 15. So you get Dussehri, Safeda, Chausa, Amrapali, Sharifa and Chital of Lucknow, Langra of Varanasi, Chausa of Meerut, Saharanpur and Bulandshahr, Ramkela, Husnara, Mallik, Gulabkhas, Malda and Husanara, Malda and Totapari of Meerut all at one place.

Adding colour to aromas will be a variety of cultural programmes. So while relishing the fruit, one can enjoy floral holi of Barsana, Charukala dance of Mahura, Lathimar holi and Kajri Dhuma and loon recital. Besides the mango, exotic preparation from the fruit include zafrani aam firdaus (mango cubes and jack fruit cooked with rich mango gravy, aam sham savera (grated cheese and mango stuffed with spinach cooked in mango gravy, aam pullao (Rice cooked wirh aam rogan).

The non-veg preparartions include aam murgh shahi (Chicken marinated wih Mango pulp cooked with hot spices in rich gravy and Karri Poodina Qeema (Minced mutton with Mango kerri, poodina and hot spices).

In addition to these, there will be sweet dishes based on the fruit like aam ki kheer (Rice and mango cooked with rich condensed milk, sugar and dry nuts) and aam ka muzafar (Rice cooked wih mango, Julian dry nuts and sugar). The festival, which is being held in collaboraion wih Delhi Tourism will be inaugurated by Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister Kokab Hameed.