Mango, popularly known as the king of fruit, belongs to Anacardeaceae family of trees. Taste, flavor and fragrance of mango is very characteristic to the same.
Mango was originated in India. Though it is not endemic to Sri Lanka, it is seen growing in many parts of the country. It is very rare to find a home garden without a mango tree in our country except in certain upcountry areas. Present extent under mango in Sri Lanka is about 27,500 Ac. Predominately, it is grown in Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Hambanthota, Puttalam, Moneragala, Jaffna districts and in Mahaweli Systems H & C. As a fresh fruit, mango has a high demand in local markets. Likewise, a considerable amount of foreign exchange could be earned by exporting both fresh and processed mango products.
At present Sri Lanka export about 80,000 Mt. Therefore, plans are under way to increase the extent under mango to about 17, 481 Ac by year 2000.
Consumption of a medium size mango could provide the daily requirement of Vitamins A and C. The level of various nutrients may vary depending on the cultivar, ripeness of the fruit and area of cultivation.
Mango is consumed as ripe and unripe fresh fruit as well as various processed products. Pickles and chutneys are made from unripe mango. Different types of drinks, jams, jellies are prepared using ripe fruit. Likewise, dried and dehydrated mango pieces and mango powder is also seen in the market.
Both unripe and ripe mango has medicinal properties. A drink made out of unripe mango is used as a remedy to prevent various body ailments caused by a raise in ambient air temperature. Unripe mangoes are also used in treating stomach problems and to stimulate bile formation and in treatment of blood related diseases.
Ripe mango has many medicinal properties. Consumption of ripe mango is useful to overcome night blindness and to protect health of skin. There is a common belief that consumption of ripe mango with cows milk helps gain weight.
Mango seeds, leaves and bark are used in the treatment of diarrhea and disorders in reproductive system of women.
There are a wide range of mango cultivars presently grown in Sri Lanka. Out of these, a number of best cultivars have been identified for cultivation under various agro-ecological regions of the country. Use of such adaptable varieties is necessary to get a higher yield from a mango tree. Fruit of different varieties have its’ own characteristic flavor and taste.