‘Father of Irwin mango’ Cheng Han-chih dies at 89

Image taken from Facebook@chingte

Taipei, June 3 (CNA) The man dubbed as the “father of Irwin mango” Cheng Han-chih (鄭罕池) passed away Friday at the age of 89, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) said on a Facebook post Sunday.

Cheng was discovered to have passed away at approximately 9:30 a.m. during his sleep, after he had finished his breakfast and taken a bath earlier in the morning, according to a Liberty Times online report Saturday.

Cheng, born in 1929, was a native of Tainan’s Yujing District whose background in agriculture ranged from growing sugarcanes to cultivating fruit, the report noted.

Lai said more than 50 years ago, Cheng imported 100 Irwin mango saplings from the United States, but a year later, due to severe frost, only four trees survived.

Cheng did not give up. Instead, he worked even harder to find innovative ways to resolve issues such as pests and marketing difficulties, Lai said, adding that he also shared his knowledge with other farmers, helping to make Irwin mango popular. The red mango is called “ruby of summer” in Taiwan.

In 2011, Cheng was presented with a special award from Lai, who was then Tainan mayor, in recognition for his efforts at promoting the Irwin mango and of his selfless dedication to local farmers.

(By Ku Chuan and William Yen)