MALAYSIA 2016 : Cheaper mangoes passed off as iconic Harumanis

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Making their purchase: Visitors choosing from the iconic mangoes displayed for sale at a stall in Perlis.

PETALING JAYA: The heatwave since early this year has taken a toll on the fruiting of Perlis’ iconic Harumanis mango, causing a drop of almost 40%.

While this has not only caused a hike in the prices and a lower supply of Harumanis, certain traders and sellers have exploited the situation to pass off cheaper mangoes as Harumanis, making at least thrice what they are worth.

Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development (Mardi) Arau station manager Othman Ismail said the so-called Harumanis flooding the market were actually tong dam, sala and arumanis mangoes, most of which were from Thailand.

“The skin and the size is about the same but it’s not Harumanis.

“Harumanis at its maximum size is around 600g per fruit but for other mangoes such as sala, each fruit can go up to between 750g and 1kg.

He also said that the real Harumanis has a slight curve at the bottom and sometimes an odd shape, unlike other mangoes.

Othman said the current market price for Harumanis is between RM35 and RM40 per kilo while the distributor price from the orchard was around RM25 per kilo.

The sala and arumanis mangoes were only sold around RM8 per kilo while the tong dam mangoes were sold between RM5 and RM10 per kilo.

Harumanis orchardist and distributor Dr Bidin Yatim shared tips on how to differentiate the real Harumanis from other similar looking mangoes.

“While the latter will look more appealing to consumers, it is not as sweet and aromatic as the green ones,” said Dr Bidin.

He said other mangoes were passed off as Harumanis since two years ago when its prices started to pick up.

“We are very concerned because it will bring a bad name to Perlis’ iconic fruit.

On Tuesday, Bernama reported that the Perlis government has requested Sirim (Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia) to create a special label for the Harumanis to preserve the interest of the entrepreneurs of the state’s icon.