This has not been a good year for India’s Alphonso mangoes, established last week as superior to any Pakistani mango.

On Tuesday, Alphonsos were included in the list of crops that suffered from unseasonal rain and hailstorms in parts of Maharashtra, although other fruit in the state suffered far more. To compound these losses, the European Union announced a ban on all imports of fruit, including mangoes, from India, on the grounds that they contained fruit flies that would damage Continental crops.

India can still export its fruit to the United States, if only because the two countries struck an exchange offer in 2007: India began to ride Harley Davidson bikes and the US began to eat Indian mangoes. The US continues to deny Pakistani mango imports, even as Pakistan continues to export its produce to South-East Asia, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and, most recently, Australia. The US has, however, allowed mango imports from Jamaica, and is considering permitting the Philippines to join its mango party.

But the mango is beleaguered elsewhere in the world.

Bangladesh, for instance, had high hopes for its fruit production this year. News Today in a report on excellent mango bud formation in March wrote that a representative of the Department of Agriculture Extension believed that if the climate remained favourable, the Rangpur region in the north could achieve a bumper crop. Just two months later, mango farmers’ hopes were devastated with an extended drought that led its yet-to-mature fruit to fall off before time.

It was not just the subcontinent that suffered. Brazil saw a 50% drop in mango production last year due to intense cold and rains, according to industry magazine Fresh Plaza. The publication also reported fears that Cuba’s mango production too might suffer this year. Australia also ran into bad weather last year, with cold weather and a mysterious “resin canal” disease that they did not know the origins of.

Australia, of course, has its own set of problems with mangoes. As in much of South Asia, mangoes in Australia regularly make the journey from industry reports to news publications. Last September, ABC complained that fresh imports of Pakistani mangoes in the middle of the Australian mango season were going to affect sales and contaminate their fields with pests, even as industry experts stoutly maintained that no self-respecting Australian would buy anything but local produce. Australia has extremely strict import restrictions and this was the first time Pakistan had qualified to send its fruit to the country.

This year, the object of concern was a three-storey seven-tonne fibreglass mango replica called the Big Mango that was allegedly stolen from Bowen in north Australia on February 24. The theft, however, turned out to have been a publicity stunt.

While Australia might lay the claim for largest fake mango, few can beat Japan’s fervent love for the fruit. At an auction this April, an evident enthusiast of the fruit bought a pair of mangoes called Taiyo no Tomago, Egg of the Sun, for 300,000 yen. At current rates, that is Rs 1.74 lakh for two mangoes, each weighing more than 350 grams. No newspaper has reported whether or not the person in question ate the fruit, but this price seems par for the course in Japan – someone paid 2.5 million yen for two cantaloupe melons in 2008.