As sweet Philippine mangoes touch down in Australia, who is buying them?

As sweet Philippine mangoes touch down in Australia, who is buying them?

Fresh mangoes from the Philippines have touched down in Australia for the first time in about two decades.

Key points:

  • Carabao mangoes are commonly known as the “Manila mango” or “Philippine mango”
  • Australia has long imported dry mango products from the Philippines, but is now importing fresh mangoes
  • These imports clash with Australia’s mango harvest, but are not expected to hurt local prices

The carabao mangoes have landed in Perth and Sydney and arrive at a time when Australia’s mango harvest is starting to ramp up in the Northern Territory.

Zona Tan-Sheppard from the Thorny Fruit Company said around 1,500 kilograms had arrived in the first consignment and sold immediately.

“It’s been exciting to be a part of this and they 100 per cent sold out before they arrived in Sydney, they didn’t go through the wholesale markets,” she said.

“A lot of these mangoes have gone direct to Filipino migrants who wanted a taste of home.”

Ms Tan-Sheppard said the 5-kilogram trays were retailing between $130 and $180 each.

She said the mangoes were initially meant to arrive during Australia’s winter months and demand going forward would determine how many more get exported to Australia.

“Australia has such a beautiful mango industry, but there is a niche here of providing migrants with a taste from home,” she said.

“These mangoes are about one-third the size of a voluptuous Kensington Pride mango, but it’s more about that nostalgia and having that family atmosphere with the taste of what they grew up with.”

Import numbers ‘minute’ 

Chief executive of the Australian Mango Industry Association Brett Kelly told ABC Rural in June that trade “was a two-way street” and he was not expecting the Philippines to export large volumes to Australia.

“I wouldn’t think there will be a huge amount [of volume] … and I can’t see it causing any issues with our own industry and trade,” he said.

The “Manila mango” is regarded by some as the sweetest mango in the world.(Supplied: Thorny Fruit Company)

Ms Tan-Sheppard said the amount of mangoes being imported compared to Australia’s production was “minute”.

“The Australian mango industry shouldn’t feel threatened. This is a test batch to gauge the reception,” she said.

“I think for the Philippine government it was also about understanding what can be exported and how they can meet biosecurity protocols.”

The mango season in the Northern Territory is expected to peak in mid-October, when around 350,000 trays — equating to 2.45 million kilograms — will be picked in just one week.

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