THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: They’re so tiny you can easily balance five, six or even seven in your palm. But when it comes to sweetness, they’re pure gold. Meet ‘Sakkarakkati,’ the prince among the baby mangoes on sale at the National Mango Fest which opened at Sooryakanthi grounds, Kanakakkunnu, on Friday.
"They are also called ‘sugar babies'," explains Narayana Swamy of Sri Vali Farm Fresh, Kolar, Karnataka. Though small, they come at a quite heavy price - Rs 100 a kilo. His stall at the fest has on display these tiny mangoes amongst their bigger cousins ‘Banganappally’ and ‘Mallika.’ Other ‘midgets’ at the ten-day fest organised by the State Horticulture Mission include the cute ‘Unnimanga,’ which is a little bigger than a quail egg, the ‘Chakkara Manga,’ the ‘Panjara Manga’ and ‘Chandrakaran'.
And then there are the jumbos. The ‘Maharaja Pasand’ is about as large as a small coconut. The sci-fi sounding ‘Solar Summer,’ ‘Kosheri’, the familiar ‘Malgoa’, ‘Chakkamanga’, and the ‘Gadam Mary’ are some of the biggest mangoes on the display at the fest.
The fest, inaugurated by Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan, has on display and sale over 70 varieties in 50 stalls. Mangoes have been brought from all southern states, Maharashtra, and North India. "The idea of the fest is to encourage farmers to take up mango farming. Such expos also provide an insight into the development of value-added products,’’ Mohanan said.
Local varieties like ‘Kottoorkonam,’ ‘Varikka’, and ‘Kilichundan’ and mangoes such as ‘Dasheri’, ‘Salem’, ‘Panchavarnam’ and ‘Banglora’ are on sale at the expo, which is on till May 27. The expo also has planting materials on sale. Tickets are priced at Rs 10 and they are available at the exhibition ground as well branches of Indian Bank.