For most Goans, “Mango means Mankurad.” It is the first mango to hit the market, often at a whopping price of Rs 2,000 or more for the first fruit!
The two ‘Mankurad Mango Fest’, one in Campal (Panjim) in 2018 and the second at Ravindra Bhavan (Margao) in 2019 were a celebration of just this mango. The characteristic dotted skin and an orange-red blush on the ‘shoulders’ and a part of the ‘cheek’ are what makes a mankurad stand out in an exhibition. The aroma of mankurad mangoes, specially when one puts one’s nose close to the cut end of the fruit stalk, is unmistakable.
‘MANKURAD’ AND MORE
There are almost a hundred other varieties of mangoes of Goan origin and more from other states, that are cultivated in Goa. My favourite is the Manga Hilario that comes in the mid-season, or end of May to June, in Goa.
Having said that, the Mankurad or Malcurada is not really a clonal selection; there are variants. Perhaps, it is time to have registered varieties like a Costa Mankurad, Gawas Mankurad and Amaral Mankurad, just as the Cardozo Mankurad’s germplasm was registered in the name of his father, Dr Armando Batista Cardoz, my neighbour in Mapusa.
The Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 (PPV&FR 2001) is also available through the PPV&FR Authority, based at the NASC Complex of ICAR-Delhi. The variety has been multiplied by Farm de Goa, of engineer-turned-farmer, Nestor Rangel.
The Malges or Malgueso mango ripens around the same time as the Mankurad. Its mature fruits are preferred for making mango chutney or sweet pickle. It has a red blush, like the Goan Pairi mango, but distinctly different aroma, and flavour.
The Hapoos or Ratnagiri Alphonso is available in the market along with the Mankurad and Malges, but it is not preferred by Goans, because it is generally force-ripened in neighbouring Sindhudurg taluka, of Maharashtra. However, one farm from Devgad markets slow ripened Hapoos, that meets the local taste.
By mid-April, the Xavier mango makes its appearance with a shape, colour and flavour of its own. It is not popularly known in the market.
The Manga Hilario or Mangilar is arguably the best mango variety of Goa. It has light, butter yellow to ivory colour pulp and the cut edge of the peel displays a saffron-coloured edge. Its major disadvantage is that it arrives in the market almost a month after the Mankurad and the fruits ripening during the monsoons, often have maggots of fruit flies, if not controlled. Pheromone-based fruit fly traps are now easily available and commonly used to overcome the maggots.
The Fernandina is as rare as the Xavier, Nicolau Afonso, Colaco or Culas mangoes. It is thick-skinned and does not have a fruit fly problem even though it ripens with the rains in June.
Monserrate mangoes have the fruit fly problem, but it often goes unnoticed because this variety is largely used for making a jam known as mangada, and rarely used as a dessert fruit.
The book Mangoes of Goan Origin, researched and put together by Mr PA Mathew, Scientist-Horticulture at ICAR, in the last decade of the previous century, documents the varieties still available in Goa, back then, and multiplied by grafting, to preserve the varieties for the future. One will be able to see many of these varieties at the Konkan Fruit Fest, in mid-May, 2022, provided we are not struck by the third wave of the pandemic by then! Fingers crossed.
The author is the former Chairman of the GCCI Agriculture Committee, CEO of Planter's Choice Pvt Ltd, Additional Director of OFAI and Garden Superintendent of Goa University, and has edited 18 books for Goa & Konkan.