Category Archives: Passion Fruit Farming in Kerala

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.

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Passion Fruit Varieties in India

In India, the most commercially viable passion fruit varieties are the purple passion fruit varieties, the yellow passion fruit varieties and the Kaveri passion fruit variety which is a hybrid of the purple and yellow passion fruit varieties.

Purple Passion Fruits

A lot of buyers globally are more familiar with the passion fruit variety. This variety is generally more productive in areas with higher elevations. The fruits are of medium size with a diameter ranging from 4-5cm and the skin colour is deep purple when the fruits are ripe. Each fruit weighs 35 to 45g and the juice content for this passion fruit variety is in the range of 31% to 35%. This passion fruit variety is very popular for its sweet flavour and nutrient content. The seeds have a black colour. The drawbacks is that this passion fruit variety is more susceptible to collar rot, leaf spot as well as to attacks by nematodes and thrips.

Yellow Passion Fruits

The yellow passion fruit variety is better suited for lower elevations and warmer climates. It does badly when planted in higher elevations because it is very sensitive to lower temperatures. The yellow passion fruits are generally larger in size than those from the purple varieties with each fruit weight 60g on average. The skin is yellow in colour with mottled spots and when ripe, it will turn to golden yellow. It is juice is less acidic and has relatively less recovery than the purple passion fruit varieties. The seeds of this passion fruit variety are brown in colour and are very tolerant to the pests and diseases that affect the purple passion fruits such as wilt and leaf spots. They are more tolerant to the nematodes and thrips.

Kaveri Hybrid Passion Fruits

The Kaveri hybrid passion fruit is a hybrid of the yellow passion fruit and the purple passion fruits. It is a more high yielding variety with the largest fruits that typically weigh  in the range of 85g to 110g. Kaveri hybrid passion fruits are purple in colour and have a quality that is comparable to that of the purple of the passion fruits meaning they have great flavour and a sweet aroma. They also have excellent tolerant to nematodes, collar rot and leaf spot.

If you are based in India, you can plant any of these depending on your location and the suitability of the local climate for any of these varieties.