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Over the past few years the US market has eagerly adopted Vietnamese dragon fruit and Brazilian Acai . The past year or so has added yet another coveted fruit to the mix: Pakistani mangoes, which some claim are the sweetest, most delicious in the world.
The mangoes which have hit shelves in Chicago and New York are also sold online. They are expected to be popular in Pakistani expat communities and among adventurous fruit connoisseurs of all nationalities. This is despite their prohibitively high cost at $60 for a box of six mangoes. Prices are high because of the mangoes scarcity, novelty and high cost of transportation.
But for those who have an acquired taste for these delicious mangoes, the difference between Pakistani mangoes and those from other parts of the world is like comparing apples and oranges. If you really have a knack for mangoes, you won’t like anything else but Pakistani mangoes. The U.S. had banned Pakistani mangoes for decades because the fruit doesn’t meet United States Department of Agriculture requirements for pest management at the orchard and postharvest level. In a move toward sweetening diplomatic relations between the two countries, US recently offered Pakistan help with exporting mangoes to the U.S., part of a $21million program to boost the country’s agriculture industry. This isn’t the first time mangoes have influenced politics on the subcontinent. Five years ago, the Bush administration bolstered relations with India when it opened up the U.S. market to Indian mangoes – just days before the two countries finalized a civilian nuclear agreement. Within the region, the two nuclear-armed rivals, India and Pakistan, have also used mangoes to soften tensions in the past, although they still argue over whose mangoes are better. Former Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq is believed to have started the tradition when he swapped mangoes with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the ’80s.