Couple hires guards to protect ‘world’s most expensive mango’

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A happenstance meeting on a train led this farmer to acquire a grove of the most expensive mangoes known to man — and needing a security team to guard it. 

While traveling from his central India home of Jabalpur to the southern Indian city of Chennai, Sankalp Singh Parihar began chatting with the man sitting next to him, Vice reported. After Parihar mentioned he was a farmer — en route to seek out hybrid coconut seeds, no less — the man offered to sell him a unique mango sapling for $33. 

Parihar decided to trust fate and paid him for it, despite not being familiar with the mango breed in question. 

“I did not know what the mango breed was but I named it Damini after my mother and planted it,” Parihar told Vice. “I grew it [the sapling] like an ordinary mango plant, but a few months later, saw that it had developed a beautiful red color.” 

Despite appreciating the mango’s unique color, Parihar still did not understand exactly how valuable his fruit was — until businessmen from Mumbai and Surat heard what he had. That’s when they began offering to buy it for significantly larger sums of money than what Parihar had paid. 

“It was only when they offered me more than $283 for it that I realized it was something valuable,” Parihar told the publication. 

Indeed, what Parihar had was a Japanese Miyazaki or “Egg of the Sun” mango, the priciest variety in the world. The extremely sweet fruits, of which even the outer peel is edible, regularly command $50 apiece.

The plants are native to Japan, where they’re subject to strict growing conditions, but since acquiring his Parihar has discovered that they thrive in India’s moist climate. So far, he and his wife Rani have successfully grown about 52 mango trees and they plan to keep growing them until the orchard is full, he told Vice.

The undertaking has required some surprising additional labor costs, namely the hiring of nine dogs and three security guards to protect the mangoes 24/7 from robbers. Following a local news report on his grove last year, a thief stole 14 mangoes, prompting the hiring of the security team. 

Parihar dreams of a day when the mangoes will not be worth stealing, as everyone will have access to them. 

“My vision is that every Indian household should be able to afford this mango,” he said. “In Japan, it is expensive because it is grown in an expensive environment. In India, we can grow it naturally and cut down on expenses.” 

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