Demand Is High For Mexico's Magnificent Mangoes

Mexico says it is now the world's largest exporter of fresh mangoes. India still holds the No. 1 position in overall mango production. One out of every 20 mangoes consumed in the world now comes from Mexico.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right. If you happen to be listening to this program while having a mango for breakfast, there is a good chance that mango is grown in Mexico. Our neighbor to the south says it is now the world's largest exporter of fresh mangos.

India still reigns king in exports of mango products, but as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, Mexican mangos are now grown at an astonishing rate and the American market is the main target.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Mexico's mango production has skyrocketed. Last year, nearly 300,000 tons were exported - mostly to the United States.

Mexico City fruit vendor Alfonso Maximo, says demand is high.

ALFONSO MAXIMO: (Spanish spoken)

(LAUGHTER)

KAHN: He says nothing's better than a mango.

Maximo flawlessly slices a ripe yellow fleshy Ataulfo-variety into a plastic cup for a waiting customer.

MAXIMO: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: He adds a squeeze of lemon, then chili powder on top. Mango lover, Jaime Klen says all other fruits pale in comparison.

JAIME KLEN: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: He says it has the best flavor, the best texture, he loves them. He sure does, he bought nine pounds.

Americans are eating plenty of mangos too. U.S. consumption jumped more than 30 percent in the last five years.

Megan McKenna of the National Mango Board says that's because mangos are trendy - used in all types of cuisines.

MEGAN MCKENNA: It's sweet, savory recipes, and included throughout the day, for breakfast all the way through, you know, a little sweet snack before you go to bed at night.

KAHN: The spike in Mexican mangos exports is mostly due to proximity to the U.S., Mexico's largest market. With shorter transportation times over those coming from Asia, Mexican growers can leave the fruit on the tree longer, says Jorge Armando Celis, president of Mexico's mango exporters.

JORGE ARMANDO CELIS: (Spanish spoken)

KAHN: The more time on the tree, says Celis, the sweeter the fruit.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City.

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