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Negotiations with South Korea over the export of Mahachanok or “rainbow” mangoes, which began in 2011, were finally completed last month, Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Mananya Thaiset said.

“Thailand began exporting three types of mango to South Korea in 2002, namely the Nam Dok Mai, Raet and Nang Klang Wan breeds,” she said. “Then in 2011, we proposed the new breed of Mahachanok mangoes, and South Korea has been revising the criteria until finally granting us approval on February 23 to import the first lot of 100 kilos of Mahachanok mangoes.”

The “rainbow” mango is a hybrid variety created from the Nang Klang Wan and sunset mango cultivars. It was named after King Rama IX’s book, “Mahajanaka”, which teaches sustainability, awareness and spirit of the country.

Usually 16 to 18 centimetres long, the multi-coloured mango with a skin of green, yellow and red are juicy, sweet and have a tropical fragrance.

To meet South Korea’s standards, mangoes from Thailand must first be steamed under 40 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes to get rid of insects.

Some 746 farmers and 12 steam-treatment facilities have expressed interest in exporting the Mahachanok variety to South Korea.

In 2020, Thailand exported 7,933 tonnes of mangoes to South Korea worth Bt739 million in total.