Passion fruit farming is expanding every day because of its numerous benefits and awareness. The world is gradually coming to one place due to internet activities we can now plant crops that were alien to us but very beneficial in health, nutrition and economy. Passion fruit is one of the top three exporting fruits in Kenya. This fruit has high value in the international market. Germany and Brazil which are amongst the high juice consuming countries uses passion fruit for flavouring.
So far in Nigeria a juice company Niyya Intergrated Farms has planted about 7 hectares of passion fruit for their Pride drinks. We need more investors in this area to reduce the rate of importing the fruits into the country.
These plants are vine crops and need support to perform well, the vines can climb anything on its part to grow. And can grow up to 13ft, it is a perennial crop that can produce fruits up to 6 years. Passion fruit can be used in the preparation of juice for flavouring cakes, pies, ice cream etc. The plant can be planted in a very small space. An acre can accommodate more than 500 stands depending on the spacing used. A step by step guide is provided in this post on how you can have a successful passion fruit farming ranging from; soil preparation, planting, varieties, management practices, harvest and marketing.
PASSION FRUIT VARIETY
There are more than 500 edible variety but the most commonly planted commercial passion fruits are; the yellow variety, purple variety and hybrid variety.
PURPLE PASSION FRUIT VARIETY
Purple passion fruit weighs between 35-50g and are purple in colour when ripe. It contends high level of nutrients and flavour. It has a high amount of juice.
YELLOW PASSION FRUIT VARIETY
Yellow passion fruit weighs about 50-60g it has a round oval shape. The fruit has yellow spots colour when unripe but becomes golden brown when ripe. This variety is known for their ability to tolerate pests and diseases but very sensitive to low temperature.
HYBRID PASSION FRUIT
Hybrid passion fruit came to be from the cross breeding of yellow passion fruit with the purple variety. It took the dominant factors in both cultivar as its characteristic. And therefore produces more yield than those two cultivars. It weighs between 90-100g. The colour of s purple it shares the same quality as the purple passion fruit. Hybrid passion fruit has a high tolerance to pests and diseases with high amount of juice.
The best soil for optimum growth is a well-drained sandy loam rich in organic matter with a PH of 5.5-6.5. Prepare the land by clearing grasses which can be kept for mulching, and trees that can be kept for staking. Use tractor and harrow for a hard soil in other to lose them for root and water penetration.
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Dig holes of 45×45cm or 60×60cm. Mix manure with the soil on a ratio of 50:50 apply it in the hole up to 30cm.
Passion fruit can be propagated through seeds, cuttings and root grafting,. Sowing should be between March-April. Planting through seed is very simple while grafting requires expertise. Extracts the seeds from a healthy high yielding plant fruit. Keep the pulp for 3 days to ferment; prepare the beds and sow the seeds. Transfer the germinated seeds inside poly bags when the leaves emergence is about 5 or 6; mix soil and compost together and fill the poly bag . Transplant them to the main field when they are 3 months old and trellis them to a stand for good yield.
For vegetative propagation: cut a healthy place from a matured passion fruit about 30cm in size with 3 nodes for the planting. You can buy seedlings from recognised nursery companies most of them are in Ogun State. A seedling will cost between 100-200 Naira.
INTER CROPPING IN PASSION FRUIT FARMING
Plant crops you can harvest within a year for additional income. Do this again the next year but in the third year plant only crops that can grow under shade such as ginger, turmeric etc.
Irrigation is very important only when there is need for it. Irrigate your passion fruit seedlings after transplanting them from nursery to the main field. During raining season don’t bother watering except there is drought or shortage of rain. The soil should be kept moist through mulching by the use of compost or green manure. Make sure there is no waterlog on the soil use drainage for excess water.
Weeding is very important for the health of plants. It should be done when necessary. Three times a year is ideal to carry out weeding in any farm. Passion fruit orchard can be weeded manually or by the use of herbicides. Care must be taken when applying herbicides so as not to damage the plants. They are shallow rooted crops the more reason weeds should not be allowed in the orchard.
Pruning is also necessary to keep plants healthy and clean. Systematic pruning should be use because it encourages new growth of vines. This will promote higher fruit yield. Prune passion fruit after every harvest. Cut the laterite to about 4-5 buds.
Apply farmyard manure 10kg in the first year of planting and 15kg in the second year. You can apply other manure such as bean cake, oil cake etc. They grow well in a Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus nutrients. After the initial application of manure before planting apply again a month after planting; and again after 3 months.
PEST/DISEASE CONTROL IN PASSION FRUIT FARMING
The commonest pests are fruit flies, mealy bug, and mite. While disease are root rot, collar rot, brown spot, die back and wilt. Prune affected part by cutting and burning. Use 1% Bordeaux mixture to treat root rot disease. And use pesticide for pest control. Plant resistant varieties.
Passion fruit has two seasons, that means they fruits twice in a year; August-December and March-May. The fruit matures between 80-90 days but starts fruiting 10 months after planting. The fruit should be harvested with a little stem attached to it. The fruits will naturally drop on the ground when ripe without damage. Use basket to pick them for sale or storage.
The yield depends on cultivar, good agronomy management and climate. But with good practices 10 tonnes of purple passion fruit can be harvested in a hectare. While 16-20 tonnes can harvested in a hybrid cultivar. A vine can produce 200-250 passion fruit every year. Passion fruit can be preserve for about a month when stored in a cold dry place with room temperature.
Passion fruit should be sold immediately after harvest in other to prevent them from weight loss and appearance fading. Sell to hotels, malls, supermarkets, restaurants, traders and individuals. Negotiate with juice company for constant suppliers.
Advertise online for a wider coverage.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PASSION FRUIT
- It treats insomnia
- Prevents cancer
- Reduces anxiety
- A good antioxidant
- Relieves anaemia
- Controls blood pressure
- Improves blood circulation
- Good for the eye
- Treats cardiovascular and respiratory condition.
WHY SHOULD START PASSION FRUIT FARMING
- It is profitable
- People are not many that are into passion fruit farming.
- It is highly demanded especially by expatriates who have been consuming back at home.
- It does not require much space less than an acre will give you good money.
A tree can yield about 15kg in a year and 1kg can be sold for #100.
Lets say 100×15kg will be 150,000. If you have like 1000 stand. It will be 1000×150,000 which is #1,500,000. This is not bad for an acre of farm. Lets say expenses is #500,000 the remaining will be your gain.
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