New Delhi, July 7 : Thousands of people thronged the sprawling Pragati Maidan here to watch about 500 varieties of mangoes at display during the 20th Mango festival held here this last week.
The mouth-watering varieties of mangoes were picked from across India for the three-day annual Mango festival.
Organised by the Delhi Tourism Department in collaboration with the Delhi Government, the mango festival came as a treat for fruit lovers who were delighted to find such a huge variety of mangoes at one place.
The King of fruits, as the Mango is also described as by many Mango lovers, drew people of all ages.
Some of the special varieties of Mangoes on display included Sirki, Suvarna, Jehangir, Neeleshwari, Royal SP, Amarpali and Langra to Badami, Alphonso, Mallika, Raspuri and Totapuri.
"The taste or sweetness of the fruit grown on Indian soil cannot be found in any other fruit growing in any other place. APEDA (Agriculture Produce Export Development Agency) Chairperson was telling me that now even America and Japan have started importing our mangoes. So people have one more opportunity to improve our exports," said Sheila Dixit, Delhi's Chief Minister, who participated in the inaugural function on Friday (July 4).
Some of the exhibitors included the mango growers who had received the prestigious Padma Shri awards.
The mango festival that was started in 1991 has today become an annual affair, attracting mango growers, traders and above all thousands of visitors from far and near.
Initially, Saharanpur, the industrial city in the sugarcane belt of Uttar Pradesh used to host this Mango Festival. In the late 1980s it was shifted to New Delhi for better exposure.
Dr. A. K Singh, a senior scientist of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) said that systematic planning in the growth and distribution of mangoes is essential to be followed by Indian growers and exporters to tap the vast overseas market.
"If we want to tap the mangoes market overseas whether it is North America or Europe or Australia or Japan, we have to orient our focus in a very systematic manner to implement quality standards, develop them, sequence the supply chain reactions, storage facilities, quality and develop a variety which meets demands of the overseas market," said Dr. A. K. Singh, Senior Scientist at the IARI.
For visitors, it was a special experience to watch and relish mangoes from different parts of India.
Scores of mango-based products were also exhibited at this Mango Festival.
The mango eating competitions held during the festival also attracted a lot of people.
The other notable attractions of the Mango Festival were sessions on 'Mango Quiz' and 'Mango Slogan' competition exclusively for the children.
About 1,000 varieties of mangoes are grown in India, in an area of 2.5 million hectares.
The states of Uttar Pradesh in the north India , Bihar, Bengal Orissa and Assam in the east, Maharashtra in the west and Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the south are among the major mango-growing States in India.
India is the world's biggest producer of this tropical fruit contributing 59 percent of total production although its share in the world mango market is less than 15 percent.
Nonethelsss, India exports mangoes to nearly 40 countries including Britain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Canada and now the Untied States.
Mango accounts for around 39 percent of the total exports of fruits from India.