Mangoes are an important crop in WA's horticultural industry as reflected by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s participation in the National Mango Breeding Program.
The mango (Mangifera indica), sometimes referred to as 'the king of fruits', is by volume the second largest tropical fruit crop in the world after bananas. It is ranked fourth in total fruit consumed after bananas, citrus and apples.
The mango is native to north-eastern India and Burma but is now widespread in its distribution.
Cultivation of mango has occurred for more than 4000 years and the tree has great cultural and religious significance in some countries. It is the national fruit of India and the national tree of Bangladesh.
The mango is a densely foliaged evergreen tree, including some varieties that grow to 20m tall and live for 400 years or more. Once established, it serves as a useful windbreak, shade tree and ornamental with attractive perfumed flowers.
Tree growth is marked by flushes of new bronze-pink leaves three to five times per year. These turn green on maturity.
Flowers are produced on terminal panicles, during the early part of the dry season in the tropics and during the spring in the warmer temperate regions.
Unripe fruits are used in pickles, chutneys, salads or consumed fresh.
Ripe fruits are eaten raw as a whole fruit, as a dessert or in salads. They may also be frozen, dehydrated, canned or made into jellies, jam, juices or incorporated into yoghurts and iced confectionery.
The mango is a good source of vitamins A and C and minerals. Mangoes also contain more beta-carotene than any other fruit and are a rich source of fibre and potassium.
Global production of mangoes is currently 52 million tonnes (FAO 2019). India is the main producer at over 20 million tonnes. China is the second largest producer at 5 million tonnes. Thailand and Indonesia are the next largest producers.
Other northern hemisphere countries that produce mangoes are Egypt, the southern United States of America and Mexico. In the southern hemisphere, South America and South Africa produce mangoes. Equatorial countries such as the Philippines are also significant producers.
Mangoes are now one of the major horticultural crops in Australia. Australian production has seen dramatic growth over the past 15 years, but remains small on a global scale.
Queensland and Northern Terriorty currently produces the majority of Australia’s mangoes.
Western Australian industry
Due to the geography of Western Australia, it is possible to produce fruit from September through to April. Kununurra produces the earliest fruit, followed by Broome, Carnarvon, Geraldton and Gingin.
Some gaps in the production cycle still exist between Broome and Carnarvon, and from Carnarvon to Gingin. However, with the planting of late maturing varieties and increased storage life of fruit, it is possible to achieve continuous supply for seven months in WA.