The passion fruit plant was introduced in Kenya during the 1920s. The plant’s native origin is Southern Brazil and adapts to vast climatic conditions.
In many homesteads, the plant is popular whether it produces fruit or not. Over 50, 000 tons of fruit are produced annually in Kenya, earning the country more than $1 billion.
This makes it a lucrative farming venture to consider. For those that have passion plant stick around to find out more marketing links.
We compiled this article for newcomers like you. Let’s get started.
There are various types of passion fruit. Every type can be grown in the right climate.
Purple Passion Fruit
- The most common type of passion fruit cultivated around Kenya.
- The fruit does well in cool temperatures of 18 degrees and above sea level of 2,000 meters.
- The purple fruit is best for commercial intentions. this is due to its high yields and juice making and its outstanding flavor.
- Turns from green color to purple when ripe.
Yellow Passion Fruit
- The plant is resistant to soil-borne diseases and well adapted to tropical lowlands.
- Performs well in temperatures of 25 – 30 degrees centigrade on a seal level of 1700 meters.
- The yellow passion is acidic but quite aromatic.
- It is larger than the purple fruit.
Sweet Passion Fruit
- Also, known as sweet Granadilla.
- Known for its excellent flavor and white aromatic pulp.
- Performs well in cooler climates of 1500 meters above sea level.
- Turns from blue to orange-brown when ripe.
- Sweet passion boasts of a hard rind against friction and damage during transportation.
Giant Passion Fruit
- This type of passion fruit grows well in warm temperatures and 1700 above sea level.
- As the name suggests giant passion fruit, grows to the height of 30 meters.
- It turns from green to yellow when ripe.
Banana Passion Fruit
- The best growth rate is at an altitude elevation of 1500 above sea level.
- Not grown by most farmers but a good source of fresh juice around the homestead.
- Turns from green to yellow and it’s shaped like a banana hence the name.
- Best used for desserts, pastry, and baking.
The passion fruit plant is a perennial plant producing fruits once a year. This means the right conditions will support your results.
Temperature: The purple fruits yield best in temperatures of 18 – 25 degrees. The yellow fruit is best in 25 – 30 degrees of temperatures.
Rainfall: Optimal rainfall of 900mm – 2,000mm for all types. How well-watered your plant influences the yields you get at the end of every year.
Soils: Dark loamy well-drained soils are best for passion fruit farming. Make sure that your soils are well aerated before the actual planting begins.
Altitude: The altitude range of between 1200 – 2000 meters above sea level is the most enough.
Before the actual planting separate topsoil with subsoil 2 months before.
Maintain a 2 meter between rows and 3 meters within rows distance. Each hole should be 60 cm by 60 cm.
Ready to plant your seedlings from your nursery bed go ahead. If you purchased them must be from a certified institution
Deep posts 6 cm deep while spacing them at 6 meters apart in the rows. The posts should be 2.8 m long and 15cm in diameter, remember to anchor your posts for support.
Twin the healthy shoots using sisal after planting until they reach the trellis wire. Once at the trellis wire twin shoots in the opposite direction.
From the early stages of planting, pruning is important. Prune all branches under the plant once the plant is at a trellising height.
Cut all secondary shots at 15 cm above the ground to avoid nutrient competition. To increase new productive vines, prune unproductive vines.
To avoid crowding and increase light penetration, grow your vines vertically. Pests and diseases will be prevented this way.
The passion plant grows as a vine following provided support. Make the most use of your land by intercropping with vegetables.
When choosing the intercropping plant it should support your main plant. Beans do not Plants chosen for intercropping should support your main plant.
Cucurbitae is best avoided. They spread diseases and pests which kill your passion plant.
Water is a key ingredient when farming passion fruit. Make sure the plants have enough water to enhance flowering and fruit formation.
Waterlogged soils are a risk to the plants. A proper irrigation system is essential to prevent withering.
The passion plant is susceptible to a variant of diseases which include;
- Fusarium Wilt – Affect the vascular tissues (brown discoloration, wilting then dies)
- Blight – Affects the leaves (Dark water lesions)
- Brown Spot – Attacks the leaves and fruit (Dark brown spots on both leaves and fruit)
- Woodiness virus – Attacks various parts of the plant (fruits, stunted growth)
- Red Spider Mites – Appear on the lower leaf surface and between veins
- Mealy Bugs – Appears on the leaves the bug is covered n waxy threads
- Fruit Fly – Lays eggs on the fruit causing sunken brown spots
- Thrips – Lesions on fruits and causes distortion of the leaves.
Use the recommended pesticides to manage infection.
Passion fruits mature after 8 -12 months. According to the type of fruit propagated it will turn from its respective green color to the appropriate ripe color.
Harvesting seasons in Kenya fall between July – August, and December – January.
Fruits should be picked by hand to prevent damage. Avoid sunburn by harvesting in the morning or early evening.
When picking, cut the stalks to prevent damaging the fruit’s outer skin. In case you prefer fruits falling provide mulch to reduce the fall impact to the fruit.
Follow the pre-harvesting procedures due to the pesticides used during the growth period.
After harvesting store the fruits in a cool place. Ensure temperatures range from 5 – 7 degrees with a relative humidity of 85 -90 percent.
Well-stored fruits will have a shelf life of between 3 – 5 weeks. Do not store your fruits all in one place without sorting, cleaning, and grading.
These three practices allow for good marketing advantages. If you propagate the Purple fruit it is important to sort and grade your fruit. This gives a good pricing benchmark compared to the latter.
The current price for 1 kilogram of passion fruit is Ksh; 150 – 200. A good price for the local market selling. The export market for passion fruits is wide and ready to consume high-quality fruits.
Since then the United Kingdom has been the largest consumer of passion fruits from Kenya. Netherlands, France, UAE, Germany, and Belgium to mention a few are viable markets.
Do you want to know how to propagate passion seedlings at the nursery stage? This is another cash-earning opportunity for you.
Follow on to find out what it entails!