Many Malaysians are curious to know more about the off-season mangosteens said to be in the cargo of MH370. And they continue to wonder why mangosteens need to be “collated” in Muar before being sent to KLIA.
The website persatuangenetikmalaysia.com reveals the following info: There are two mangosteen seasons in most of the states in Malaysia. Trees that bear fruit in the main season (July to September) do not fruit in the off season January to March.
A book called Mangosteen Cultivation by Othman Yaacob, H D Tindal tells us more about mangosteen seasons: The main harvesting season is from June to August, but this is variable since flowering is linked to the onset of the dry season. Harvesting is also influenced by altitude and shade. There is also a small second crop in Malaysia from November to January. This is also the main harvesting period in Sarawak.
And the following info is from a blog called Anim Agro Technology: The main growing areas are in Perak (Batang Padang district 340ha), Selangor (Hulu Langat district 300ha), Johor (Segamat district 288ha) and Pahang. Three main varieties of mangosteen are grown: Seedless mangosteens (GA1), Mesta (GA2) and Local Mangosteens.
And from the book Fruits for the future 9: Mangosteen Garcinia mangostana by Mohamad Bin Osman and Abd Rahman Milan published in 2006: About 90 per cent of exports of Malaysian mangosteens go to Singapore, and the next most important market is Hong Kong.
But according to an FAO document, China does import mangosteens from Malaysia: in 2009, it imported 1224 tonnes of mangosteens worth US$2.1m. Mangosteen imports into China require a phytosanitary certificate.
Now, Johor Fama says the mangosteens are not from any orchard in Johor, while the IGP says he did not say the mangosteens are from Johor. He said the mangosteens were packed into crates by a supplier in Muar (Malaysian Insider).
Several questions spring to mind:
- Where did those off-season mangosteens come from, if not from Johor?
- Who is the supplier/packer in Muar? Why is the supplier reluctant to be identified?
- How many crates were the mangosteens packed into and how big was each crate?
- What was the exact weight of those mangosteens? We were told it was 3-4 tonnes. Could we be a bit more precise?
- Where is the phytosanitary certificate for the mangosteens?
- Who handled the transport to KLIA?
- Who handled the loading on board the plane? Were the mangosteens loaded on aircraft pallets or in a container?
- What kind of security check/screening is carried out on such cargo?
- Is it common to send 3-4 tonnes of mangosteens on a passenger plane? (A Boeing 777-200ER plane can carry about 57 tonnes of cargo.)
- Who in China ordered the mangosteens and where were they to be delivered?
- Crucially, why has the cargo manifest not been revealed? (I believe some of the info above would be found in the manifest.)
If you have any other relevant information about mangosteens, drop me a line in the comments section below.