Ahmedabad: The famous saffron-coloured Kesar variety of mango, largely grown around the foothills of Girnar mountains in Gujarat’s Junagadh district, has got global recognition as ‘Gir Kesar’ mango after being granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
The Kesar mango is the second variety of mango in India to get GI registration after the Dussheri mango variety grown in Uttar Pradesh.
“GI registration will help the farmers of Junagadh and Amreli district immensely. From now onwards, no other Kesar mango variety, grown in other parts of Gujarat like Kutch, Valsad...can be sold as ‘Gir Kesar’ mango,” the Junagadh Agriculture University (JAU) Vice-Chancellor, Mr N.C. Patel, said.
After the GI registration, mango growers in 18 talukas of Junagadh and Amreli districts, located on the periphery of the Gir Wildlife Sanctuary, will be able to reap the benefits of added value attached to their produce, JAU officials said.
Nearly 20,000 hectares of area is under mango cultivation in both these districts and close to two lakh tonnes of production per annum is estimated, they added.
“As per the GI laws, if anyone, apart from Junagadh and Amreli farmers, are found selling Kesar mango as Gir Kesar, then they could be put behind bars for 1-2 years and a fine of more than Rs 50,000 could be imposed as penalty,” Mr Patel said.
The JAU University had filed for the GI application last year.
The GI registration of this luscious fruit will convey assurance of quality and distinctiveness - essentially attributed to the place of its origin in a defined geographical locality.
Talala, Keshod, Vanthali, Una, Kodinar and Mangrol talukas are the main production centres of Kesar mango in Junagadh district, while for Amreli, the centres are Dhari, Khambha, Rajula and Jaffrabad.
Throwing light on the history of the Kesar variety of mango, a JAU official said: “The Kesar mango was first spotted by Junagadh Wazir Sale Bhai in Vanthali taluka of Junagadh.”
Subsequently, it was sent to Mangrol’s Sheikh Jehangir Mia, who, after having the delicious fruit sowed the kernel in his garden and named it as ‘Saale ki Aambdi’, he added.
Coming to know about the fruit, the Junagadh garden superintendent A.S.K. Iyengar gathered information about this king of fruits from Jehangir Mia and visited Vanthali to prepare few grafts for planting them in the district, the official said.
“Later, around 75 grafts prepared by him were planted at the Junagadh Laal Dori farm situated on the foothills of Girnar mountains and after three years, Junagadh Nawab Babi Mahabat Khanji-III was offered the fruit to taste,” he said.
“The nawab liked the taste of this delicious fruit and gave it the name of Kesar in around 1934,” he said.
A hand-written note of the garden superintendent, documented with the government, narrates the trail of events which eventually led to naming of this Junagadh mango variety as Kesar, the official said.