Passion Fruit Farming In Kenya

This article focuses on passion fruit farming in Kenya. Passion fruit farming is a very profitable agribusiness venture with a ready market locally and internationally. Kenya is actually one of the top suppliers of passion fruits to the European market.

Passion fruit is widely grown in Kiambu, Nyeri, Kisii, Nakuru, Thika, Kakamega, Embu, Bungoma, Uasin Gishu, Murang’a, Vihiga and Meru.

Varieties of Passion Fruit Grown in Kenya

  • Purple passion fruit
  • Yellow passion fruit
  • Sweet passion fruit
  • Giant passion fruit
  • Banana passion fruit

Purple and yellow passion fruits are the most common varieties grown in the country.

Ecological Requirements for Growing Passion Fruit

  • Temperature of 18-25°c for the purple passion fruit and 25-30°c for the yellow passion fruit variety.
  • Altitude of 1200- 2000m above sea level.
  • Well distributed annual rainfall of 900mm- 2000mm.
  • Fertile and well drained soil with pH of 5.5-6.5.

Land Preparation

Land should be thoroughly prepared, about 2-3 months before planting. Deep ploughing is highly encouraged to ensure that soil is well aerated.

Planting and Propagation

Planting holes should be 45cm wide and 45cm deep with a spacing of 2m between plants and 3m between rows.

Grafting is highly encouraged to prevent soil-borne diseases such as fusarium wilt. It also increases yields.

Fertiliser Application

Before transplanting or grafting, fill the planting holes with farmyard manure which can be mixed with double superphosphate (about 125 grams).

The best fertiliser for topdressing is CAN, which should be applied after one month of transplanting.

The passion fruit plants should also be sprayed with foliar fertilisers after every 3 months until maturity.

Pests and Diseases Management

Common pests that attack passion fruit plants include nematodes, red spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs, fruit flies, thrips and stink bugs. The pests can be managed by the use of pesticides such as Fastal, Karate, Mitac, Dynamic… etc.

Common diseases include fusarium wilt, blight, brown spot and woodiness virus. The diseases can be controlled by practising proper field hygiene or spraying the plants with fungicides such as Ridomil and Dacomil.

Farm Practices

Pruning

Pruning passion fruit vines is necessary to allow the growth of new fruit bearing vines.

Trelling

Trelling is done using posts and wire. The posts should be 2.7m high and 15cm in diameter. They are erected in 6cm deep holes and spaced 6m apart in rows before the passion fruit plants start climbing.

Harvesting

Harvesting can be done after 8-12 months. The peak harvesting season in Kenya is from July to August and December to January.

Passion Fruit Market in Kenya

Passion fruits can be sold locally in open-air markets, groceries or supplied to supermarkets, grocery stores, institutions such as hotels, restaurants and processing companies that use passion fruits to manufacture items such as beverages.

In most markets, a kilo of passion fruits is sold at Kshs 50.

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Zack Abuyeka

I am the third eye.My duty is to keep you updated of the current trends and events happening round the globe.