Category Archives: Passion Fruit Farming in Kenya Earnings

Passion Fruit Farming in Uganda: Important Facts to Keep in Mind

In Uganda, passion fruits have traditionally been grown in a smaller scale. Perhaps there are areas where it even grew accidentally. Commercial production of passion fruits on an industrial scale is still a very new concept in the country. However, this is where the money lies. So how can transform yourself from a small scale subsistence or accidental farm into a commercial scale profitable farmer growing your passion fruits for exports and processing?

Passionfruit Seedlings
Passionfruit Seedlings

For one, having the right information is key. You need to know the right variety of passion fruit to plant, the best soils, soil preparation, husbandry and how to control the pests and diseases in order to maximize your yield. If you haven’t, check out our Passion Fruit Guide for a comprehensive coverage and information on commercial and successful passion fruit farming.

Here is a summary of some of the steps to follow to be a successful passion fruit farmer in Uganda:-

The land preparation stage

The land preparation stage

The ideal soil type for growing your passion fruit is sandy loam soil. The soil type shouldn’t be a limitation, however. There are ways in which you can prepare the land in order to create the ideal planting conditions. Some of the steps that you can undertake include the following:-

  • Start by ploughing and preparing the land. This will make it easier for you to dig holes into it and plant your passion fruits. The planting holes should be at least 2 feet wide and 1 feet deep.
  • You can separate the refilling soil and mix it with some manure.
  • Put well composed organic matter into the hole where you are going to plant the passion fruit. Do this at least two weeks before you plant the passion fruits.
  • There is always the risk of fungi in the manure that might affect your passion fruit so it is always advisable to add some fungicide to the soil and manure mixture.

If you will be planting the passion fruits during the dry season, you should water the holes a day before and a day after planting the passion fruits.

The spacing from one passion fruit plant to another or from one hole to another should be 3m by 2m or 10 feet by 7 feet. With good labour supply, you can plant the passion fruits very close to one another. However, with no labour supply and where you will be doing all the planting and plant management all on your own, space them widely. Passion fruit farming in Uganda is generally a labour-intensive undertaking.

Passion fruit seedlings are generally wrapped with a polythene bag so this should be removed during the planting and properly disposed of so as to ensure the soil is well aerated.

For better growth, dip the roots of the passion fruit seedlings into a root stimulant.

What are the varieties of passion fruit to plant in Uganda?

The main passion fruit varieties that you can plant in Uganda include the following:-

  • The local purple traditional passion fruit variety
  • The local purple hybrid passion fruit variety

The Soil and the Nutrition

There are various steps that you can undertake so as to improve the soil quality and ensure better yields for your passion fruits. For passion fruit farming in Uganda, organic manure can be quite effective and also easily accessible. If you raise other domestic animals such as chickens and cattle, you can easily source organic fertilizer from your backyard. You can also prepare compost manure.

Passion fruits are vigorous plants and generally require fertilizers such as potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen. The levels of amount to add will depend on the various stages of growth of the passion fruit.

In case you planted the passion fruits using manure, add NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) fertilizers after one month. In the second month, use the TSP or Triple Super Phosphate Fertilizer or the Single Super Phosphate (SSP) Fertilizer. With time, you can interchange this with the Calcium Ammonium Nitrate (CAN). This will help in the development of the fruit tissue and also helps in strengthening the cover of the fruit. You can use organic and inorganic fertilizers interchangeably.

Marketing Passion Fruits in Uganda

You can sell your passion fruits to different categories of buyers in the Ugandan market and even abroad. These can include wholesalers, restaurants, retailers, individual customers, traders, and supermarkets among others. Regionally, Kenya is one of the biggest markets for passion fruits. There are also growing export markets such as China and the UAE. Prices vary widely depending on the market.

Weeding Your Passion Fruit

You can weed your passion fruits at various stages during the planting. A garden free of weeds will generally give you an excellent harvest. In case you decide to weed your passion fruits, make sure you don’t leave the ground bare. Spread some mulch or leave some grass bands around the roots of passion fruit to protect the roots and help in keeping the soil moist.  You can also intercrop the passion fruits with crops such as strawberries which provide for good cover crops.

Storing Your Passion Fruits

Store the fruits in a cool place. In that condition, they can last for more than two weeks without getting spoilt. Before you harvest the fruits, apply some CAN to prolong the shelf life of the fruits. In Uganda, however, a lot of the passion fruit produced is sold almost immediately.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE Passion fruit farming eBook $27.00 USD

How to Grow Passion Fruit

There are many crops that yield good income to the farmer and Passion Fruit is definitely one of them. This vine bears delicious fruits that are either yellow or purple in color. Since it is a lucrative business to grow passion fruits for domestic as well as export market, let us understand some basics about growing this fruit.

Know about Passion Fruit

Passion fruit is a roundish fruit that grows on vines and is available in yellow and purple variety. Both the varieties are acidic in nature and excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as carotene. The fruit is best eaten in fresh form or after extracting the pulp and making delicious juice. There are many uses of the pulp and juice alike, in cosmetic and food industry. The addition of the fruit gives unique taste to dishes and many food flavors are obtained from this wonderful fruit.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

Its utility in food and cosmetic commercial industry has prompted many farmers to take up passion fruit farming and there is a growing demand in domestic and export market for this versatile crop.

Panama Red Passionfruit
Panama Red Passionfruit

The purple variety grows better at higher altitude. They are acidic with variable taste and juice capacity. Initially green in color, they are round and once ripe have an intense aroma. On the other hand, the yellow variety is bigger, rounder, more acidic and less aromatic. Both the varieties are pretty similar in taste. The yellow type gives higher yield and is more capable of fighting plant diseases.

Ideal conditions for growing Passion fruit

Passion fruit grows well in wide range of altitudes ranging from 1200 to 2000 meters above sea level, depending upon the geographical location. The ideal temperature range for purple passion fruits is 18⁰C to 25⁰C and for yellow fruits it is 25⁰C to 30⁰C.

Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming
Large Scale Passion Fruit Farming

The fruit requires evenly distributed rainfall of 900 mm to 2000 mm through the year. Excess rainfall damages the crop. Thus, in regions with heavy rainfall, care should be taken to see that the soil is well drained and there is no water logging. Heavy rains can decay the leaves and fruits and reduce the yield.

For a good crop, there needs to be balanced soil with adequate nutrients and fertility with a pH count of 6.0 to 6.5. Lesser pH means acidic soil and that indicates easy wilting of the vine and destruction of the crop. In order to protect this, it is essential to put manure and lime at the plant roots as well as the entire field, so that the soil acidity is reduced considerably.

Planting and caring

Passion fruit can either be cultivated from seeds or by grafting method. However, grafting method cultivation has better results. After being removed from pulp and dried, the seeds take about 4 weeks to germinate and they are initially planted in plastic bags with approximately three seeds per bag. After germination, they are thinned out to only one plant. The young plant needs four months to reach the transplanting stage.  From seven weeks after the transplanting is completed, the plant should have around four healthy side stems.

Planting Passion Fruit Seedlings
Planting Passion Fruit Seedlings

The most suitable time for transplanting is just at the onset of rainy season. The plants should be planted in well tilled soil, since the roots of passion fruit go very deep down. The field should have posts with wire trellises ready to support the growing vines with fruits. The vines should have sufficient place to grow in both directions.

Since passion fruit grows on vines, it needs ample space to spread out for a healthy growth. For this reason, the plants are spaced out at 3 meters from each other and there is a distance of 2 meters between each row. Horizontal and vertical trellises help in supporting the growing vines and thus should be of proper thickness like 9 to 10 gauge of galvanized steel. The posts on which the trellis is raised should be stout and deep rooted in soil so that they can easily withstand strong winds and the weight of vines and fruits. Ideally, the posts are 45 to 75 cm deep in ground and raise the trellis up to a height of minimum 1.5 meters.

A north-south orientation of trellis ensures that the plants get sufficient sunlight and proximity to other vines encourages cross-pollination.

Precautions for getting a better yield

Mixing about 20 kg of manure with 175 grams of TSP (Triple Super Phosphate) and spreading it around the field at the time of plantation assures a healthy crop. Two applications of 150 grams each per year (Total 300 gm) of CAN (Calcium Ammonium Nitrate) during rainy season protect the plants from decay and disease.  Spraying of pesticides on leaves is also recommended for added protection.

Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest
Panama Red Passionfruit Harvest

When the plants are first transplanted, it is necessary to weed the ground. Since the crop does not last for more than three years, it is advisable to plant other plants in rotation so that the soil remains enriched and disease free.

Be vigilant and prune any decaying part to maintain the plant healthy and high yielding. Timely spraying and application of insecticides ensure that there is no infection and the crop is well maintained.

For local market use, the fruit s harvested when it changes color. From raw green it turns to either yellow or deep purple. The pulp is bright yellow and has small black seeds. As far as fruit harvesting for processing is concerned, it is allowed to fall to the ground and then collected very alternate day after it shrivels up a bit. This does not hinder its efficiency for processing.

Passion fruit vines give a good, healthy yield for almost three years, after which the strength of the plant diminishes and so does the harvest.  These vines have a capacity of giving yield of 15 to 20 tonnes per hectare and thus generate good income for the farmer.

As we can see, passion fruit farming is a very good income source for the farmer and with simple precautions and proper planning he can get excellent crop for domestic and export markets.

The Types of Passion Fruit Varieties to Plant in Kenya

When it comes to passion fruit farming in Kenya, you probably have one of the widest array of passion fruit varieties that you can choose from. The Kenyan passion fruit farming market is highly developed s farmers have much choice. The main varieties of passion fruits that you can grow in Kenya include the purple passion fruit, the yellow passion fruit, sweet passion fruit, giant passion fruit and banana passion fruit.

Here is a description of the main passion fruit varieties that you would find in Kenya:-

The Purple Passion Fruit Variety

This is the most common passion fruit variety in Kenya. It is mainly used in the local fruit industry in Kenya and a large part of it is also exported to various foreign markets, particularly in the Middle East.

Purple Passion Fruit Variety
Purple Passion Fruit Variety

The purple passion fruit variety will do well in cooler climates with an elevation of between 1200m to 1800m towards the east of the Rift Valley and an elevation of 2000m to the west of the Great Rift Valley. The shape of the purple passion fruit can either be round or oval and when ripe, it will change its colour from light green to purple. Once the fruits are ripe, they will drop off from the passion fruit vines. For processing, it can be canned, frozen or processed into passion fruit juice.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

The yellow passion fruit variety is the latest craze in Kenya among passionate passion fruit farmers. It is a more vigorous passion fruit variety and is widely planted in the tropical lowlands where it does quite well compared to the purple passion fruit varieties. It has a very aromatic pulp although it tends to be more acidic than the purple passion fruit pulp.

Yellow Passion Fruit Variety
Yellow Passion Fruit Variety

The average fruit from the yellow passion fruit variety is also larger than the purple passion fruit varieties and will turn from green colour to yellow when it is ripe. Once ripen, the fruits will drop from the vines. The yellow passion fruit variety is generally used mainly as a rootstock onto which the purple passion fruit variety will be grafted. This is because the yellow passion fruit variety has better resistance against the many soil-borne pathogens.

Sweet Passion Fruit or Sweet Granadilla Variety in Kenya

The sweet passion is ideal for cooler climates with elevations of over 1500m. These are the optimal conditions under which you would get great yield from your passion fruit plants. It has great flavour and when ripen, it will change colour from blue to orange-brown. The aromatic pulp has a whitish colour and is enclosed by a hard shell so you can transport it easily without damage.

Giant Passion Fruit Variety in Kenya

The banana passion fruit variety is better suited for elevations of above 1700m and in a tropical environment. It is a vigorous vine and will grow to lengths of up to 30m and when ripen, the fruits will change colour from green to yellow. The fruits should be eaten fresh. It is not a commercial variety.

The Banana Fashion Fruit Variety

The banana variety is better suited for cooler conditions and higher elevations of over 1500m above sea level. It is not a commercial variety.

Banana Passion Fruit Variety
Banana Passion Fruit Variety