Mango (Mangifera indica Linn) is the most important fruit of India and is known as “King of fruits because of its fine taste and good qualities. Mango covers an area of 4,369 thousand ha with a production of 31.2 million tons. India occupies top position among mango growing countries of the world and produces 40.1% of the total world mango production. Andhra Pradesh tops the list of mango producing states. Other major producing states are Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar and Gujarat.
Mangoes are available in some different varieties which are given below:
Mangoes are generally harvested at physiologically mature stage and ripened for optimum quality. Fruits are handpicked or plucked with a harvester. During harvesting, the latex trickles down the fruit surface from the point of detachment imparting a shabby appearance to it upon storage. Therefore the fruits should be harvested with a 10-20cm stem attached to it. For efficient harvesting of mangoes a simple, low cost and portable mango harvesting device has been designed and developed at the Central Institute for subtropical horticulture, Lucknow. Mango fruits are taken into the pouch and held between the divider and knife and as the device is pulled, the blade cuts the stalk. The fruits are then conveyed through a nylon chute to collecting boxes without bringing down the device every time. This saves time and protects fruits from mechanical damage due to impact. It also protects operator's hand from the sap, which oozes out from the point of detachment. On an average, a man can harvest about 800 to 1000 fruits per hour with the help of this device, depending on the skill of the worker, fruiting and height of the tree. It consumes 50 per cent less energy as compared to local methods. Harvested mangoes should be placed in field containers of not more than 25 kg capacity for movement to the packing shed. The fruit should be kept in the shade and handled carefully at all times after harvest.
Mangoes are hand-packed in single layer fiber board trays. Fruit should be packed stem end down to prevent any latent ooze sap damaging the skin. Trays should be packed so that the fruit are holding each other firmly in place, with no movement when the lid is closed, and should weigh at least 6.8 kg. A cost saving method would be by volume filling large cartons. Using this method fruit is still graded to size but the carton is simply filled until a required weight is reached.
Packaging for processed products is of several types: