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Harvesting

  • Local varieties starts bearing at age 4-7 years while the grafted varieties take 2-3 years.
  • The yields increase with age and trees reach optimal bearing at 8 years, reaching full maturity at 20years.
  • The fruit takes 5 months from blossoming to ripening. Maturity of the fruit is determined by change in skin colour, shape, texture and flavor of the fruit.
  • When harvesting, to avoid damage the fruit should be handled gently both at picking and post harvest handling (for tall trees it is advisable to use a ladder and avoid pulling the fruit from the tree)
  • Cut the fruit with 5 cm of stalk.
  • Harvesting seasons are different for different varieties in Kenya as shown in the table below:-

Mangoes harvesting seasons in Kenya

VAR/Month

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

April

Ngowe

X

X

X

Apple

X

X

X

Tommy atkins

X

X

Vandyke

X

X

Haden

X

X

Sabine

X

X

Parvin

X

X

Kent

X

X

Keitt

X

X

Maturity indicators for mangoes (when to pick mangoes)

i. Shoulder development

  • A fully-grown mango should have outgrown shoulders (fullness of the chicks) shown by formation of a depression at the stem end (where fruit attaches to the stem) firm and green.

ii. Skin colouring

  • Ripe mangoes skin colour change from dark green to yellow in some cultivars e.g. Haden.
  • NB: in some cultivars e.g. Sensation the red/purple colour skin is not a dependable maturity index.

iii. Colour of the flesh

  • Colour changes from greenish yellow to yellow to orange. Slice the fruit to observe.

iv. Hardening of the mango-stone

  • The hardening of the stone is a good sign of maturity. Cut fruit to observe.

v. Specific gravity

  • This is done using the ‘float test’. Ripe mangoes sink immediately and hence not suitable for export. Fruits that float just beneath the surface of the water or sink slowly to the bottom are suitable for export. Immature fruits not ready to be harvested for export float with about one tenth of their volume above water.
  • NB: a few mangoes from semi-arid areas have high specific gravity and even immature ones will sink. Modify the test by adding about 1 kg of salt to every 100 litres of water.

vi. Ripening period

  • Fruits in mature green stage take about 7 days to ripen fully under natural conditions. They don’t shrivel but develop full flesh Colour and flavour. If fruits ripen (soften) before the 7 days are over then they are not fit for export market - they are over mature and fit for local market. If they do not soften by the end of the seven days, they are immature and hence not yet. Ready for harvest
  • Maturity is also based on a standard of 13% dry matter content.

vii. Brix value

  • A brix value of 8-9% - the mango is ready to be picked for export. Locally sold mangoes can be harvested at a brix value of 10%.
  • A brix value is taken using a refractometer reading

Yields

  • The local varieties yield 200-500 fruits per tree per year whereas the grafted varieties yield 1000 fruits per tree per year (15 tons/ha).
  • The table below shows expected yields of mango trees by age:-

Year

Yield per tree (tons)

Yield per Ha (70 trees/ha)

3rd

7

500

4th

14

1000

5th

70

5000

6th

143

10000

7th and above

214

15000


POST HARVEST MANAGEMENT

– Post harvest minimum requirements for export market

The Fruit

  • For export cut the stalk to 2cm. the fruit should be intact, firm and fresh in appearance. Fruits affected by rotting or deterioration are excluded.
  • Fruits should be clean (practically clean from any foreign material,

Post harvest treatment

  • Mangoes are submerged in hot water at 550C to kill latent fungal infection developed in the field except Tommy atkins which cannot withstand higher temperatures of 500C.

Sizing

  • Size is determined by the weight of the fruit which is consumer driven. This determines the no. of mango pieces a 5Kg carton carries e.g. size 12, 10, 9

Grading

  • The contents of the package must be uniform and contain only mangoes of the same origin, variety, quality and size. The visible part of the content must represent the entire content.

Packaging

  • Use clean material and of high quality that can withstand transportation to the final market destination. Pack in single layers in boxes with plenty of wood wool or tissue lining.

Labeling

  • Each package must bear the following particulars; Identification, packers names and address of official dispatcher, produce name and variety, origin of the produce, indicate country of origin and optionally district where it is grown.
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