Category Archives: Passion Fruit Diseases in Uganda

The Simple Guide to Passion Fruit Farming in Uganda

Passion fruit is a fairly popular fruit grown in Uganda, especially in the districts of Kasese and Masaka. There is low barrier to entry for passion fruit farming. It is easy to grow and manage in general if you follow the right steps. Within 8 to 12 months and with the right varieties, you should be able to begin harvesting your fruits. Here is a simplified guide on passion fruit farming in Uganda:-

Passion Fruit Varieties to Grow in Uganda

There is the traditional purple skinned passion fruit variety as well as modern hybrid purple variety of passion fruit. Here is a look at the main passion fruit varieties that you can grow in Uganda:-

  • The purple Grandilla passion fruit variety:b This variety of passion fruit is known for its sweet scent and flavours. It is also known as Kasese passion fruit, Masaka passion fruit or simply the Kenyan passion fruit variety.
  • Kawanda Hybrid passion fruit variety: This is a highly resistant hybrid passion fruit variety that is a cross between the yellow passion fruit variety and the local purple passion fruit variety.
  • Yellow passion fruit variety: The yellow passion fruit variety is highly popular, especially in Kenya where it is rapidly growing in popularity. It is very aromatic but also more acidic.

 

What are the Soil Requirements for Passion Fruit Farming?

Passion fruits need to be planted in sandy loams that are fairly fertile with lots of mineral supply for you to attain the best yields from your farm. If these conditions do not exist naturally, you can create them artificially using a mixture of sand, compost and artificial fertilizers. The suitable soil PH range should be in the region of 6.0 to 6.5.

Propagation of Passion Fruits in Uganda

Passion fruits should be propagated using stem cuttings, seeds or they can simply be grafted onto prop gules.

Planting the Passion Fruit

Here are some tips to keep in mind when planting your passion fruit in Uganda:-

  • Dig a hole with a depth of at least 1 feet and a width of 2 feet.
  • Make sure the holes where you will be planting the passion fruits is well fertilized.
  • It is advisable to prepare the land and open the planting holes a few months in advance so as to kill off the pests and diseases.
  • The mix the top soil with the compost and put it back.
  • Add the relevant fertilizers such as NPK and CAN to further boost the soil fertility.
  • Trellis the plants. The poles should be placed at least 6m apart in the spaces between the passion fruit plants.
  • Do some companion planting or intercropping with some “light” vegetables such as strawberries, carrots or green pepper. Avoid heavy feeders such as maize, and bananas.

 

Harvesting Your Passion Fruits

Your passion fruits will be ready for harvesting after eight to twelve months. This is especially so for the purple variety of passion fruits. Start picking the fruits as soon as they turn from green to purple when the calyx has dried leaving a small stalk to which the fruit is attached. During this time, shaking the tree will be sufficient to get the fruits falling to the ground.

If you are harvesting for processing, it is advisable to let the passion fruits fall on a soft mulch on the ground. Don’t pluck them up as you may end up plucking unripe ones for immediate processing.

You can collect the dropped fruits at least once or twice every week. In hot weather, pick the fruits early in the morning. Make sure you shake the tendrils so as to release all the passion fruit which may have been stuck in the foliage.

In rainy weather, pick your passion fruits on a daily basis and store them in a cool and dry place.

Marketing Your Passion Fruit

Uganda already has a large local market for passion fruits. If you are looking for a larger and more lucrative market, you can take your passion fruits to Nairobi, Kenya. Look for buyers through Facebook groups and ship the passion fruits to them via transport options such as Easy Coach. Other markets include Tanzania, Rwanda and the UAE.

Passion Fruit Farming in Uganda: Quick Tips for Success

Looking for some quick tips for passion fruit farming success in Uganda? Here we go. A 2 minute read of simple tips that will make your passion fruit farming venture more profitable:-

  • Plough the proposed deeply and thoroughly. This will open up the soil and allow it to be aerated which is ideal for passion fruit planting. Opening up the soil also allows for water filtration.
  • Open the passion fruit planting holes several weeks in advance.
  • Mix the top soil of the farm with the compost or manure and then put it back into the planting hole.
  • Transplant your passion fruit seedlings as soon as the rains begin. If there are no rains, water before and after planting your passion fruit.
  • You should do the transplanting of the passion fruits during the early mornings or late evenings. This will minimise the likelihood of plant failure or withering due to excess heat.

 

Planting from Seeds

  • If you are starting with seeds, soak these seeds in warm water so as to facilitate their quick germination.
  • Leave the passion fruit seeds in the open air to dry before you plant.
  • Place the passion fruit seeds 1cm deep in polythene containers
  • Thinly cover the seeds with top soil and then pour water to facilitate germination.
  • After the seedlings have grown to a height of 20cm to 25cm, transplant them to the prepared site. Make sure you remove and dispose of the polythene containers.
  • Harvest your passion fruits when they ripen and change colour to either yellow or purple depending on the passion fruit variety.

Curbing Spread of Pathogens in Your Passion Fruit Plants

One of the best ways to curb the spread of pathogens when growing your passion fruits is by ensuring the highest level of hygiene of the vines that you are planning to plant and after the planting. For example, make sure all the diseased plant parts or plants are pruned so as to kill off the diseased parts before the disease spreads to other parts of the plant.

To avoid spreading the pathogens to other plants or parts of the plant, make sure the tools you use in pruning are disinfected. There are certain common passion fruit diseases that you need to watch out for. These include the following:-

  • A dieback in your passion fruit plant can be caused by fungal diseases such as Fusarium or Phytophtora. Use fungicides but don’t overdo it. Always try to keep the use of fungicides to a minimum. You can also use an organic homemade fungicide to stop the spread of fungal diseases. A common recipe for a homemade fungicide involves crushing coriander seeds and boiling them for 10 minutes in 10 litres of water and then adding 40 chopped onions into the hot coriander water mixed. Leave this mixture for 24 hours and then filter it off, dilute the liquid with at least 20 litres of water and spray on your passion fruit plants. Alternatively, you can simply buy a commercial fungicide. Check out our passion fruit farming handbook for information on some of the fungicides that you can use on your passion fruit plants.
  • Another common passion fruit disease that you are likely to grapple with is then Brown spot, commonly called Alternaria passioflorae and the leaf spot that is commonly known as Septoria passionflorae. These two diseases affecting passion fruit plants can generally be avoided by proper plantation management, better hygiene during planting as well as the regular use of fungicides. You can spot these diseases by the spots that they leave on the leaves and fruits. Eventually, they will make the fruits and leaves drop which will severely impact your yield.
  • Another common viral infection in passion fruit plants is woodiness. The most common pathway of transmission for this diseases is during the grafting and pruning process. It can also be transmitted via sucking insects like the aphids. This diseases is most likely to occur in the colder seasons. Woodiness will result in mottled passionfruit foliage as well as malformed fruits that have a hard and thickened rind but with no pulp inside. To control this, prune out the infected vines with a disinfected tool. They should be destroyed as soon as possible in order to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • Mealy bugs: These are tiny insects that are covered in white and waxy fluff. They attach themselves to the fruits and leaves and suck out the honeydew and in the process weakening the vines. In more serious attacks, black mould will develop on the plant which can cover the vines and leaves, eventually killing off the entire plant as they block photosynthesis.

For a more detailed look on some of the pests and diseases that you are likely to grapple with when it growing your passion fruit, check out our passion fruit farming handbook.