SIBN’s second mango festival proves to be a sweet success

JEDDAH: Mango lovers had a feast at the Indian Consulate recently, savoring and devoring the uncrowned “King of all fruits” at the second mango festival organized by Saudi Indian Business Forum (SIBN). More than 110 varieties of delicious and luscious Indian mangoes were on display for the visitors to choose and satiate their craving for the seasonal fruit.

In just two years the festival has achieved a unique status, where it has become a platform for a very healthy rivalry with people of respective states and regions taking the lead in positioning mangoes of their region on top. Interestingly each mango at the festival carries a history of its own and a cultural legacy of that state.

The main aim of the organizers was to showcase all the unique varieties of mangoes which are not commonly known to a wide section of mango lovers. All these varieties of mangoes were brought by Salwa Patel Mango Gardens, (a subsidiary of Saber Patel Mango Gardens) from Zaheerabad, Medak district of Telangana, which belongs to Jaber Patel who is also the President of Indian-Arab Friendship Foundation.

The festival was inaugurated by Indian Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman. After the traditional opening ceremony, the consul general was presented with a huge mango to cut, thus, opening the festival. He was visibly surprised to see the huge mango, which is a rare variety called “Ghade Maaru”. The opening ceremony was attended by consulate staff, Saudi dignitaries and members of the Indian community.

Mir Gazanfar Ali Zaki, SIBN’s general secretary, welcomed the consul general, Saudi dignitaries and the Indian community. Danish Abdul Ghafoor, in his introductory remarks, presented information about most of the mangoes on display.

Speaking at the inauguration Sheikh said, “This festival is being held for the second time at the Consulate. I had heard that last year the festival was a big success and exciting event. I hope that this year’s festival will be a bigger success. I am quite familiar with different varieties of mangoes, as I have been reading about them on the Internet. But there are still many varieties which are new to me.”

Speaking on the occasion, Patel said: “I feel proud to bring these mangoes from our mango gardens and be part of this festival in the Consulate for the second time. In India there are around 1,300 varieties but only 6-7 varieties of mangoes are exported which are very common in the market, the rest of the varieties are available and sold only in India. I am trying to showcase diverse varieties of mangoes, which are produced in different parts of India.”

He said, “Last year 35 varieties of mangoes from his farm in India were on display. This year I have brought 110 varieties that are on display. I promise the people of Jeddah that next year I will try to bring more than 300 varieties from India.”

He thanked Consul General Sheikh and Consulate staff as well as Saudi visitors for their support.

It is not possible to mention each variety of mango that was on display at the festival but some very popular varieties from south as well as north were the main attraction at the festival. Most of the visitors admitted that they knew hardly a dozen variety but not beyond that.