Okinawa Prefectural Government produces new Okinawan mangoes
July 13, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
On July 12, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Department (AFFD) of the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) announced two new varieties of Okinawan mango called natsukobeni and tilala. They are the first mangoes to be brought from the United States and then developed in Japan. The OPG registered both trademarks in June and will increase production volume and work to strengthen the brand power of Okinawan mangoes. The production volumes for this term are expected to be 1680 kilograms (3704 pounds) for natsukobeni and 440 kilograms (970 pounds) for tilala.
The difference between the two varieties of mangoes is that natsukobeni has round fruit and is very sweet and tilala has an oval-shaped fruit and a sweet-sour taste. The harvest season is from late July to early September, which is between the end of harvest time for the Irwin variety and the beginning of the picking season for Keitt, other mangoes grown in Okinawa. The OPG expects that the new varieties will lengthen the harvest season and increase the total production volume of Okinawan mangoes.
The new varieties are lipense for natsukobeni and Valencia pride for tilala.
The AFFD has grown 18 varieties of mangoes from cuttings sent by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2003. They selected these two varieties because of their suitability to the environment in Okinawa, and have bred them on a trial basis at Nakijin and in Miyako-jima since 2007. Targeting more affluent people and repeat customers, this year it will start to sell the mangoes.
The production volume in five years time is expected to be 100 tons for natsukobeni, and 71 tons for tilala. Takeshi Chinen, the head of AFFD said, “We aim to produce these mangoes as an original Okinawan brand and hope that this will help to increase farmer’s income. We hope that areas producing mangoes will develop in the future.”
(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)
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