Featured Image Credit: Sankalp Singh Parihar
A pair of farmers accidentally grew the 'world's most expensive mangoes' and now need a special team of security to protect them.
Sankalp Singh Parihar, from India, was on a train to Chennai a few years ago when a fellow passenger asked him if he wanted a special mango sapling for Rs 2,500 ($33).
Taking a gamble, he agreed. But after a few months, he started to notice something different about them.
Speaking to Vice, he said: "I did not know what the mango breed was but I named it Damini after my mother and planted it.
"I grew it [the sapling] like an ordinary mango plant, but a few months later, saw that it had developed a beautiful red colour."
And when people caught wind of his produce, Parihar said he was offered a huge amount of money for them.
"It was only when they offered me more than Rs 21,000 ($283) for it that I realised it was something valuable," he told the publication.
It turned out that what Parihar had bought from the stranger on a train was something called the Miyazaki mango, which have been known to sell for thousands at special auctions in Japan.
According to reports, the fruit originates from the Miyazaki prefecture on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu.
And it is taken very seriously, with it having to be grown in special conditions, using nets to suspend them in the air, to make sure the sugar content is just right and that each one weighs at least 350 grams.
However, Parihar realised that none of this was necessary in India.
He said: "Since I did not know what breed these mangoes were, I grew them like I would grow any ordinary Indian variety like the alphonso."
Adding: "My vision is that every Indian household should be able to afford this mango.
"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."
Growing such high-end fruit, however, comes with its dangers.
After Parihar's valuable mangoes were reported in the media, thieves broke into his farm and stole more than a dozen of them
As a result, he now employs a special security team to protect the 52 he currently has.
He said: "Last year, after a local news channel reported that we had these mangoes, a thief broke in and stole 14 mangoes.
"So now, we have hired a team of guards and pay them Rs 8,000 ($108) every month.
"I would rather pay for security than lose these mangoes, which to us are worth so much more than money."
Adding: "These are our babies and our focus right now is to keep nurturing them and using the fruits' seeds to plant new ones,."