• Fragrant mangoes eyed for Zamboanga growers

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    The Department of Agriculture (DA) is now pushing for the development of a fragrant mango variety called Huani to increase its marketability and provide higher income to the people of Zamboanga Peninsula.

    Commonly called kuwini, Saipan mango, and fragrant mango¯ Huani (Mangifera odorata) is a lesser popular Mangifera species that bears edible fruits. It is also often very cheap, that people in the peninsula often left mature fruits to rot and put into waste.

    But with the funding of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the DA-Zamboanga Peninsula Integrated Agricultural Research Center is now implementing a project that will help increase the crop’s market price, as well as reduce postharvest losses due to deterioration.

    The project came up with a process to turn Huani fruit into wine, puree, powder, candies, and pickles that are hoped to be among Zamboanga Peninsula’s flagship processed foods.

    Through the project, the researchers was also able to determine the appropriate maturity period of huani that will produce the best products; develop protocols for product standardization; develop package of technology of the different products; mass produce the products; and push for the commercialization of the products.

    Currently, the laboratory building has already been renovated, and the equipment and processing facilities for the development of Huani products have already been procured.

    The products that were developed out of the Huani fruit have already undergone sensory evaluation to determine their acceptability in terms of color, smell, taste, odor and aroma.

    “With its flavor, firmness, and ability to thrive in moist areas, Huani can also make its way as one of the economically important fruits of the Philippines. This fruit can provide more income-generating opportunities to our farmers, while its potentials can also be harnessed in future breeding programs and activities in the mango industry,” BAR said.

    Huani grows to about 15 meters high, shaped like an open canopy through its large green leaves, making it more attractive as an ornamental tree for home gardens are its large red flower panicles.

    True to its name, the fragrant mango is characterized by its pungent smell. Its tree, as well as its flowers, emits a distinct odor that resembles a turpentine aroma. Some describe it as more sweet-scented as compared to other mango varieties.

    When ripened, its medium-sized rounded fruits have a bright orange to yellow flesh that is firm, slightly fibrous, yet juicy and sweet.

    In some parts of the world, it has gained economic importance, especially in areas where the Mangifera indica cannot be grown due to a very wet climate.

    Huani is usually consumed as a table fruit when ripe, while the green ones are made into pickles and sometimes used as condiments together with raisins, onion, and other spices. In traditional medicine, the bark of the huani is being utilized to treat people who are suffering from hystero-epilepsy, a form of hysteria that is accompanied with epileptic convulsions.

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