What is the time production for your passion fruit plants?
Passion fruit plants will not generally produce fruits within six months after planting. Your passion fruit plants will come into production after about 12 to 24 months. There are various factors that will determine the time to production (time it will take for the passion fruit vines to begin producing fruit) for your passion fruit vines. These will include the following:-
- The time of planting: In temperate areas, the best time for planting is usually during spring. In tropics such as Africa and South East Asia, you don’t have to worry about these seasonal limitations.
- Location and Climate: Passion fruit plants will mature fastest and start producing fruits in the tropics. However, they take the longest time to produce fruits in subtropical climate such as Western Australia and the Mediterranean.
- Variety of Passion fruit: The variety of the passion fruit planted also has a bearing on the time it takes to begin producing fruits. The Panama varieties take the shortest time to mature and begin fruiting while the purple varieties take the longest time. In some markets such as East Africa, the purple varieties of passion fruits are generally more popular with consumers although the yellow passion fruit varieties can be grown in these markets for the fruit processing plants.
- The site aspect: Passion fruit plants do best in a north to east facing location. They will take longest when planted in a South or West facing site aspect.
The Labour Requirements When Growing Your Passion Fruit
Passion fruit farming is very labour-intensive. You cannot mechanize it and it will require a lot of manual labour. In a location where the cost of labour is high, this will be a serious overhead when growing your passion fruit.
The passion fruit vines will require close and constant manual labour throughout the year. Leave them unattended for any long duration of time and it is going to have an impact on the yield. Most of the work that needs to be done to take care of your passion fruits will involve a lot of manual labour on the farm. If you have time on your hands, you can do some of this in order to minimize the costs.
If you are planting your passion fruit vines over a large area, you are certainly going to need some helping hand especially in work such as pruning, trellising and harvesting the passion fruit during peak periods.
When they hit the age of maturity, the purple passion fruit varieties will fall to the ground. The harvesting for the purple passion fruit varieties will therefore involve collecting the passion fruits from the ground. This will be a difficult strenuous task. However, the Panama passion fruit selections are usually picked directly from the vine. They don’t fall off to the ground once ripen.
In summers, harvesting for the passion fruits should be done at least once every day. In some situations, you may need to harvest the passion fruits at least twice or thrice every day. This will help prevent damage on the fallen passion fruits from the scorching sun.
The difficult part will be finding suitable hands who will give your passion fruits a tender loving care. Ideally, these should be people who are flexible and willing to work early in the morning and late in the evening. Working on your passion fruit is generally a backbreaking labor so you also need workers who are fit enough to do the needed work.
Passion Fruit Yields
When grown well, passion fruit plants can give you excellent yields that will prove very profitable. Generally, you should expect anywhere from 10 tonnes to 15 tonnes per hectare. On average, you should expect 15 tonnes per hectare.
Generally, up to 70% of the passion fruit produced will be good for the fresh fruit market. That is an average of 10.5 tonnes per hectare out of a projected average fruit production of 15 tonnes per hectare in annual crop. The remaining 4.5 tonnes of fruit is generally second grade fruit and can only be used for the fruit processing market.
Processing Passion Fruit
Passion fruits are most profitable when grown for the fresh market. This is usually 70% of the passion fruit produce. The remaining 30% that is not suitable for the fresh market such as those with minor skin blemishes are generally used for the processing market.
However, the process grade passion fruit does not fetch a good price in the market so growing your passion fruits for the process market loan will not make financial sense or is not financially viable. However, you will still recover some of the production costs. The most financially viable way to produce your passion fruit is doing it for the fresh market which has very good profit margins.
Also, selling your passion fruits in far off locations may not be financially viable or will eat into your margins. Not only will you grapple with the high costs of transportation, but some of the fruits will get damaged or go bad before they are all sold to customers and this represents serious losses. Ideally, you should grow your passion fruits for the local market.
Expect up to 30% of your passion fruit harvest to be valueless unless you can find a processing facility nearby. However, some customers in the fresh market can still buy these albeit at a lower price.
Takeaway: Profits in a passion fruit farming enterprise are only achieved if you are able to grow high quality passion fruits for the fresh market.