The Surprising Way One Indian Farmer Started Growing The 'World's Most Expensive' Mango

When Sankalp Singh Parihar, a farmer in India, was traveling from the state of Madhya Pradesh to the southern city of Chennai in search of hybrid coconut seeds around four years ago, little did he know that he was about to strike gold instead. In an interview with Vice, Parihar said that he was casually chatting with a fellow train traveler, as is common on long train journeys. Upon realizing that Parihar was a farmer, the man offered to strike a deal of Rs 2,500 ($33) in exchange for a mango sapling which the man insisted was special.

Parihar went back to his orchard in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, and grew the mango sapling as any other ordinary mango plant, not knowing that the fruit that was going to grow was far from ordinary. The plants started to bear mangoes that had a distinctly deep ruby color, unlike the usual yellow mangoes. Not knowing which breed of mango he had accidentally grown, he decided to name his variety Damini, after his mother. It was only after businessmen from other Indian cities got a whiff of Parihar's special mangoes and offered to buy them for 21,000 ($283) that Parihar realized he might be sitting on a gold mine.

His ruby-colored Damini mangoes turned out to be Miyazaki mangoes from Japan, which are considered to be the most expensive variety of mangoes in the world (via New Delhi TV Food).

Miyazaki mangoes are the world's most expensive mangoes

Miyazaki mangoes, also known as Taiyo-no-Tomago — Eggs of the Sun — are not only considered to be the most expensive variety of mangoes in the world, but they also rank pretty high on the list of the world's most expensive fruits in general (via Ventured). When ripe, the mangoes are incredibly sweet and soft. Parihar describes the feel of the pulp as being like that of jelly, and says that the skin of the mango is edible, too.

These red-colored mangoes are large in size and grown under very precise conditions. Each mango must have a 15% sugar content and must weigh at least 350 grams. According to Vice, farmers in Japan are very meticulous when growing Miyazaki mangoes. They are grown in a temperature-controlled environment and covered in a net so that there is just enough sunlight for the mangoes to get a red-colored skin. This perhaps explains why the average price of a Miyazaki mango is $50, and the most anyone has ever paid for it is $4,500 for a box of two. In fact, Miyazaki mangoes are considered to be a luxurious indulgence rather than an ordinary fruit meant to be eaten every day.

Parihar plans to grow Miyazaki mangoes in India 

Parihar is set on reducing the hefty price tag associated with a Miyazaki mango. Considering he didn't know what he was growing at the time, Parihar grew his Miyazaki mangoes as any other ordinary mango, not giving it any extra special care that it would otherwise need (via Vice). Despite the lack of specific climatic conditions that Miyazaki mangoes require to fully grow, the mangoes grew just fine in his orchard. He claims that it might have something to do with the naturally moist climate of the country.

Realizing the potential to grow Miyazaki mangoes in India without the added expenses that go into their care, Parihar said that he thinks it might be possible to sell the mangoes for a cheaper price and make them more accessible. With his wife Rani, the couple planned to save all of their 52 ripe mangoes and use them to grow an entire orchard full of them, instead of selling them for a quick buck. 

However, with the world's most expensive mango growing on his orchard, Parihar has had to deal with an unexpected problem. After word of his special mangoes spread and a thief stole 14 of his 52 mangoes, Parihar has hired a team of security guards, including nine guard dogs, that protect his prized mangoes round the clock.