Introduction

Mango has become a major fruit crop of the tropics and subtropics, particularly in Asia, where the mango has always been the most important fruit crop and where it has been considered the 'king of fruits' (Purseglove, 1972). A generation ago, the Green Revolution culminated, creating surpluses of staple and horticultural crops in many developing countries. The Green Revolution was the result of nearly a century of effort of applying Mendelian genetics to crop improvement (i.e. conventional breeding) together with the optimization of agronomic and horticultural practices and the successful management of insect pests and diseases. However, improvement of tree

© CAB International 2009. The Mango, 2nd Edition: Botany, Production and Uses

crops has lagged far behind field crops for several reasons: their heterogeneity, polyploidy, lengthy juvenile period, time required for evaluation of trees in the field, and the relatively high cost of maintaining tree plantings. For the most part, fruit cultivars continue to be ancient selections, many of which have serious problems, including alternate bearing, lack of disease resistance, low yields, etc. The rapid growth of mango production in recent years has been due to its expansion into new growing regions of the New World, China and parts of Africa; the planting of regular bearing selections; and the adoption of modern field practices, which include irrigation management, control of flowering, etc. Agricultural practices are currently undergoing another revolution, as integrated pest and disease management replaces the earlier reliance on agrichemicals, and emerging fields within biotechnology begin to impact cultivar development.

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