Two new mango species being grown in Okinawa

Okinawa’s put it seal of production and approval on two new species of mango, the Natsu-Kobeni and the Ti-rara.

Until now, these kind of mangoes were imported from America, and the new mangoes grown in Japan for the first time have received a trademark registration. Okinawa Prefecture officials say they intend to produce both types of mango, and will strive to create a special blend.

Okinawa Prefecture is calculating they’ll be able to grow 1,680kg of the Natsu-Kobeni this season, as well as 440kg of Ti-rara. The Natsu-Kobeni is a round fruit with a strong, sweet flavor, while the Ti-rara is long and slender, and has a combined sweet and sour taste. The Okinawa creations will carry the name Lipense as well as Natsu Kobeni, and Valencia Pride accompanies Ti-rara. The division says there are now 18 kinds of mango approved for import by the Department of Agriculture.

The division selected two types mango from the 18 imports available, and began growing them in Nakijin Village and at Miyakojima City starting in 2007. This year, the plan is to begin full-scale sales, targeting repeat business and high end stores. The two mangoes should be in full production within five years, with Natsu-Kobeni cranking out 100 tons annually, and Ti-rara 71 tons.

Harvest season is in progress through mid-month, allowing harvest of the Irwin mango grown in Okinawa, and farmers are preparing to harvest the Keitt mango.