Passion fruit production is constrained by several insect pests, diseases and inadequate knowledge on the
management of the crop among other factors. A grower needs to know a few basic facts about the crop.
The two types of commercially grown passion fruit in Kenya. 1) The purple passion (Passiflora edulis f. edulis) This type of passion fruit is most suited to upper midland
and highlands (1,100 to 2,500m above sea level). It has purple colored superior fruits of 4-5 cm in diameter
which have an aromatic flavor. It is good for fresh market and Juice extraction for local and export markets
2) Yellow passion fruit (Passifl ora edulis f. fl avicarpa) This passion fruit is most suited to the coastal lowlands. It is more vigorous and has a larger fruit of 5-7cm. It is more acidic and used for juice extraction. Yellow passionfruit is resistant to Fusarium; wilt, tolerant to Phytophthora blight, nematodes and brown spot.
It is used as rootstock to purple passion fruit.
Step 1: Seed extraction
Healthy mature fruits of yellow passion fruit with a history of good bearing capacity are collected from parent plant. Seeds are scooped from the fruits.
• Extracted seeds are put in water for at least 3 days to ferment and ease separation of pulp and seed.
The seeds are then dried under shade. Seeds lose viability rapidly if not stored in a dry, dark cool place. Step 2: Planting
Seeds are planted into prepared beds or into 6 cm wide by 22.5cm high polyethylene bags filled with sterilized soil to eliminate root knot nematodes, soil borne diseases and other harmful organisms.
• Sterilization may be through solarization (using sun) or by use of steam.
• Germination starts after about 17 days. Step 3: Grafting
Seedling rootstocks of yellow passion fruit are grown until they are at least 50cm high and 3-4 mm thick.
• Healthy seedlings with dark green leaves are selected for grafting.
• Scions from healthy high yielding true-to-type vines of purple passion fruit are collected preferably when the plants have flowered. Scion mother plants should be raised in areas protected against sucking insects, to reduce incidences of disease.
• Sterilization of grafting equipment between grafts must be practiced (use jik).
• Two methods of grafting are used. These are cleft (most common) and splice.
Seedlings should be watered regularly and protected from insects.
• All shoots from the rootstocks must be removed.
• Harden-off seedlings by exposing them to the sun gradually when scion shoot is about 10cm long.
• Remove grafting tape from the union and transplant seedling in the field one month after grafting
NB! We got you covered, we already have grafted passion fruit seedlings. Just book yours today!
The prospects of passion fruit farming in Kenya may change for the higher if plans to elevate the fruit into a significant farming crop are adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture.
This is once details emerged that Kenya’s production of the passion Fruit has been on the decline for the past decade within which no passion fruit exports visited Europe.
During a stakeholders’ forum for farmers, consumers and development partners, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya chairman Apollo Owuor said the country produced and exported passion fruit in massive scale within the 90’s and early 2000.
However, since 2003 it declined principally owing to pest management challenges a number of that contravened European markets’ strict tips on pesticides residue, with Kenya’s passion fruit reported to contain higher than acceptable limits.
In Addition, Mr. Owuor said that there haven’t been efforts to revive the trade since, partially as a result of passion fruit being listed as a minor farming crop by the Ministry of Agriculture thus it’s not within the government’s policy for priority support.
Passion Fruit is listed as a minor crop
Agriculture Food Authority Horticulture Crops Directorate head Zakayo Magara acknowledged that as a result of passion fruit being listed aboard a hundred different minor crops and little has been in advancing a policy to market and boost its cultivation.
In effect, the Council of Governors Agriculture Committee, depicted by Anne Koech, a county govt member accountable of agriculture in Kericho County, created a commitment to support the elevation of the crop to major crops standing in order that resources can be allotted to its development in counties appropriate for its cultivation.
She said county governments ought to likewise subsidize its seedlings purchase to boost production and additionally produce market linkages to contour selling.
Research has shown that passion fruit will grow anyplace in Kenya owing to convenience of sorts for each hotter and colder climate – yellow passion for lower, hotter regions and therefore a lot of common purple selection for the upper cooler regions.
Experts at the stakeholders’ forum noted that there’s potential for Kenya to be a world leader in tropical juice production owing to its year-round convenience of tropical fruits like passion fruit, mangoes and pineapples, being a rustic that may grow these crops in turn.
Through passion fruit cultivation, farmers will observe better financial gain.
(Source: Brian Okinda, Seeds of Gold; Jan 27,2018)
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Passion fruit, a climbing vine, may be a versatile crop whose demand is growing in export as well as domestic markets.
The fruit are often eaten fresh or consumed after extracting the pulp and creating juice.
The juice is used in a very many forms of products and also the pulp could also be added to completely different dishes. A large range of cosmetic merchandise and food flavours are derived from the fruit that’s made in Vitamins A and C and carotene.
Yellow and purple varieties exist. Purple varieties do higher at higher altitudes than the yellow varieties. Yellow varieties, on the other hand, tend to yield higher and is more resistant against diseases.
The purple selection is acidic, varies in style and succulence with intense aromatic scent and spherical in form. The yellow selection is greater, with similar taste however presumably less aromatic, a lot of acidic and is also additionally spherical in form.
Both varieties are green before ripening, and they are big for industrial and domestic functions.
Passion fruits perform well in a very wide selection of altitudes from 1200m to 1,800m on top of water level East of the Rift valley and up to 2,000m on top of water level West of the Rift valley.
Optimum temperature for purple passion fruit is between 180C to 250C and 250C to 300C for yellow passion fruit whereas the rain ought to be well-distributed, between 900mm to 2000mm p.a..
Excess rain causes poor fruit set and encourages diseases principally leaf and fruit rusts. For good production, passion fruits do well in a variety of soils, that ought to be moderately deep and fertile with soil PH going between 6.0 and 6.5.
In high rainy areas, the soils ought to be well-drained as plants won’t face up to waterlogging or flooding. Some passion fruit enterprises that were doing well in Uasin Gishu County some 5 years ago folded thanks to soil acidity (pH < 5.0), that reduces nutrient uptake and accelerates Fusarium wilt disease that causes rot of roots and stems finally drying of the entire plant. Farmers are encouraged to use manure and lime within the holes and whole field to cut back the soil acidity effects.
Planting and trellising
Passion fruit are often grown from seeds however grafting often produces improved stock. Yellow passion fruit is best for production of rootstock thanks to superior disease resistance whereas purple is sweet for fruit production.
Seeds germinate in four weeks after removal of the pulp and drying. Production of seedlings in plastic luggage is that the most used methodology.
Up to 3 seeds are planted in every bag then reduced to 1 after emergence. Seedlings would force up to four months to achieve an acceptable transplanting growth stage. After about seven weeks of growth following transplanting, each plant ought to have up to four healthy lateral stems.
Transplanting ought to be done at the start of the season around April-June. Passion fruit has deep roots, therefore soils ought to be well-tilled. Transplant to a field with posts having wire trellis to support the growing crop and fruits made.
The vines are sometimes directed in order that growth is in each directions on the supporting wires. Yields are highest following a regular fertilization regime. Old or dead shoots ought to be pruned. Intercropping with vegetables or different annuals is suggested to maximize free area particularly once the crop is young.
Once established, the vines grow speedily and the fruit ought to flower after about seven months. Ideally, young passion vines ought to be set within the field early in the season when there’s no danger of drought.
Passion vines are planted 2m from one row to the opposite and 3m from one plant to the other. Horizontal trellises have cross-pieces at the highest of every post with 2 to four wires set up horizontally 60cm apart on the highest of every cross-piece.
Vertical trellises accommodate significant posts without cross-pieces, with 2 to 3 wires set up on the row like wire fencing, hooked up to the posts from the highest down at intervals of regarding 30-40cm apart.
Trellis wires ought to be size nine or ten galvanized steel. The posts got to be stout enough to face up to the load of the vines and fruits produced throughout a season that unremarkably includes the blow of robust winds. Ideally, they ought to be long enough to produce a trellis height of 1.5m, with 45-75cm within the ground. Trellis rows ought to be oriented north-south for max exposure to daylight, and also the vines ought to be allowed to conjoin on the trellises to market cross-pollination.
At planting, use 175g of Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) and one ‘debe’ (about 20kg) of yard manure and mix well. To get high yields, regular fertilization is critical.
Apply 300g of metal nitrate (CAN) per plant p.a. in 2 applications of 150g each during rainy season. Spraying with foliar feeds and trace components is additionally suggested.
Weeding is crucial once the plants are in initial stages. Diseases is sometimes sufficiently controlled by crop rotation as plantations are not kept for over 3 years.
Infected stuff ought to be pruned and destroyed and vines kept as open as attainable to permit thorough application of sprays. Diseases may be controlled by combination of excellent management, smart plantation hygiene, and an acceptable spray programme.
Pests lower fruit quality and will be controlled by often checking the areas round the plantation for signs of build-up. If necessary, spray to manage the pests before they unfold to the crop.
When prepared for harvesting, the skin of the fruit is deep purple or yellow. Its pulpy interior is bright yellow, full of tiny black seeds. For contemporary market or use, the fruit is picked once color changes occur.
For processing, the fruit is allowed to drop to the bottom and picked a minimum of each second day. At this stage, the fruit is shriveled however quite appropriate for process. Yields decline every year till harvests don’t seem to be adequate within the four year.
Yield and incomes
Yields of over 15-20 tonnes/ha are attainable. In one year, a farmer might earn up to Sh1 million per acre as compared to Sh35,000-Sh60,000 for wheat or maize.
The shortage of passion fruits for domestic and business consumption has sparked an increase in value because the entities attempt to satisfy their fruit desires.
The inequality in supply is clear from the margin of the price of passion fruits within the varied cities in Kenya. From a sample of seven cities, the wholesale price distinction between the very best and therefore the lowest if triple.
While a bag of 57kg of edible fruit is cost accounting Sh9,690 in Embu, identical amount is being sold at Sh3,000 in Kisumu city – the most cost effective.
Comparing the 2 cities, the inequality on the price per metric weight unit is about Sh118 – Sh170 in Embu and 53 in Kisumu- per Sokodirectory.
Nairobi is shopping for identical amount at Sh5,700 whereas Mombasa is paying Sh6,000 on wholesale, Kitale is that the second highest market after Embu shopping for the 57kg passion fruits at Sh6,600.
The trend of the low supply of passion fruit has been perennial with soft drinks firms like Coca-Cola probing for the fruits from farmers with futility.
After the four to 5 months drought experienced in Kenya from the tip of 2016, solely farmers who had irrigation methods survived the disaster, and could have one thing to sell.
The shortage isn’t just for the fruits, however different vegetables too.
Passion fruit demand has many a time, been high as soft drink firms attempt to satisfy this raw-material. They’re forced to import the fruits, with a number of them importing in concentrates as a result of the passion fruit being limited internationally.
Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organization’s Horticulture Research Institute officer Peter Mburu said increased demand makes passion fruit a better agribusiness venture than maize, which on many occasions, does not repay the invested production costs.
On normal provide, a Kg of the passion fruits sells at about Sh80.
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Several years back, Republic of Kenya was among high producers of passion fruits, however overtime production has stagnated. however, we’ve seen improvement in sweet yellow selection production since 2011 when it was introduced and it’s currently wide fully grown. This is often as a result of its proof against bacterial wilt and woodiness.
Most farmers grow the yellow and purple varieties. Yellow is good for processing while the other variety is good for fresh juice extraction. This has boosted the production cycle that is now two years yet our competitors like Zimbabwe and South Africa take five years. However, our average production is still 3.3 metric tonnes (MT) per hectare compared to 8 tonnes per hectare for other nations.
According to HCD, in 2015, total production stood at 46,628MT but this fell in subsequent years to 31,571MT on average. The low production is due to pests and diseases and reliance of rain-fed agriculture and farmers are not providing enough nutrients to grow to optimum.
Woodiness disease is a major hindrance to the production of the fruit and is characterized by the crop’s leaves turning yellowish. It is a viral infection that occurs in cooler areas or seasons, with symptoms including one getting malformed fruits with hard rind producing no pulp. These cannot be sold in any market.
New Varieties in The Market
Since 2011, there has been a number of varieties released by Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization like KPF 8, KPF 11 and KPF 12. These varieties can withstand pests and erratic weather patterns. But there is also a purple variety called Esther, which is bigger, sweet and promises better yields. Most farmers are yet to grow it. The variety takes time before it shrivels or loses moisture compared existing ones.
Various markets normally set requirements for active ingredient for a specific crop. The challenge has been that we don’t have appropriate chemicals for use on the crop. There is only one herbicide and one pesticide approved by Pesticide Control Board (PCB) for use by farmers.
However, there are a wide range of pests such as white flies and mealy-bugs that attack this crop. Export markets such as the Europe Union require that the use of these products must be registered and approved.
So, the challenge is that if farmers use a pesticide that is not within those approved, then automatically they are not conforming to the set requirements. Secondly, by default the residue level is set at 0.01, (which is level set for those products that have not been approved). So, if they spray using a pesticide that is not approved, it is detected immediately and the produce intercepted. Most exporters have been unable to export because they fear that their produce would be rejected by the EU market. Yet, spraying to kill pests and diseases is inevitable because of the tropical climate we live in.
The government responsibility is to protect farmers and the PCB is currently working to correct the situation. We are also working with the competent existing horticultural structures to assist farmers comply with market requirements not just for the EU, but also American, Australian and Oman market that have stringent measures.
Other Challenges in This Sector and How They Can Be Handled
Most smallholder farmers rely on rain-fed agriculture so that when the rains fail, you get small sizes of fruits that are rejected in the export market.
Counties should support farmers by developing irrigation agriculture to ensure the quality of the produce is improved.
Role of The Horticultural Crops Directorate in Assisting Farmers Access Better Market
HCD is encouraging farmers to work in groups. They also encourage them to grow certified seedlings from nurseries licensed or registered by HCD or county governments. In addition, they also follow the contractual agreement between farmers and an exporter as a witness to ensure that they are not exploited. It is a requirement that the exporter must also have a certificate from HCD and a plant health certificate from Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service before exporting produce.
Passion fruit is among the most competitive fruits in Kenya with a great economic importance. Sweet yellow passion fruit is newly released in Kenya. Sweet yellow passion fruit has high demand from the juice makers as it yields more juice than the purple passion fruit. There are two main types of passion fruits; yellow and purple.
The sweet yellow passion fruit could soon overtake the once black gold of coffee if more farmers embrace its production in the country. Its farm gate price stands at Sh 70 per kilogram during the peak while those lucky farmers who produce the commodity at off peak can comfortably earn Sh 120 per kilogram.
Yellow Passion fruit production
Mostly, passion fruit is round or oval, 4-6cm diameters. Vines commence cropping at 6 months of age and reach full bearing in 18 months. The vines have a productive life of 3 to 4 years. New plantings should be made on a continuous 3 year rotation to maintain production. Passion fruit grows well in cooler temperatures at an elevation of between 1200m-1800m above sea level east of the Rift Valley and up to 2000m above sea level west of the Rift valley.
More specifically, the purple passion fruit does well in the upper midland to upper highland zones (1200-1800m) while as the yellow passion fruit does well in the lower midland to lower lowland zones (up to 1200m). Further, the fruit does well in optimum temperatures, where the production of purple and yellow passion is between temperatures of 18-25 degrees Celsius and 25-30 degrees Celsius respectively.
To improve the profitability of yellow passion fruit cultivation, the development of technologies to increase yield productivity, especially those pertaining to the mineral nutrition and irrigation and fertilization is essential.
Challenges that smallholder farmers face in the production of passion fruit is the low volumes of produced fruits by individual smallholder which is uneconomical to sell individually;
pressure to sell to middlemen even at lower prices;
poor post-harvest handling due to lack of skills and capacity to maintain good post-harvest quality; pests and diseases, particularly die back disease.
Smallholder farmers in Kenya begun growing passion fruit as a result of the support gained from the Kenyan government, private foundations and bilateral and multilateral donors since the early 2000s. The gross value of an acre of passion fruit with a good harvest was estimated to be Ksh. 600,000 ($8,000), or 12 times as much as that of maize at the time. Yellow passion fruit production has led to farmers earning sh. 10,000,000 in Meru County through a project initiated by Techno serve an NGO whose primary goal was to encourage farmers to produce more mangoes and yellow passion fruits which can access international markets with required residue levels.
Yellow passion fruit farmers have realized higher profits due to lower growing costs since the purple passion fruit requires spraying six times each fruit season, compared to three times a season for the yellow variety. The new variety has doubled fruit incomes, with industrial fruit processors opting for the yellow passion fruit over the purple passion fruit because it is sweeter, less acidic and bigger with more juice.
Passion fruit has quick financial returns for both the domestic and export markets because it takes only one year for the crop to mature.
The creation of juice making companies in Kenya is gradually opening up avenues for Kenyan farmers to make money by producing raw materials for these industries. Until recently, Passion Fruit farming was done by major companies in Kenya. Passion Fruit has huge market potentials in the country and it is highly sought after in the international fruit market.
The passion fruits
Passion Fruit, (Passiflora edulis, a close relative to violets, is botanically part of the Passifloraceae family. There are more than 500 species in this family and more than 50 of them are edible. However, only the purple passion fruit and the yellow are grown commercially. The main variety for producing juice and juice concentrate is the yellow variety.
Passion fruit’s unique, intense, aromatic flavour characteristics and its “natural” ingredient make it viable for juice blends. It has also been described as a natural concentrate and it blends so well with other juice flavors. In Germany, one of the largest juice consuming countries in the world, passion fruit concentrate and banana puree constitute the base of almost every “multivitamin” juice produced. These “multivitamin” juices are second only to apple juice in popularity among Germans. In Brazil, the fruit is used in fresh beverages made both at home and in “stalls” or juice stands popular throughout the country.”
How passion fruit grows
The passion fruit is a vigorous, climbing vine that clings by tendrils to almost any support. It can grow 15 to 20 ft. per year once established and must have strong support. It can produce for five to seven years if good agronomy practices are adopted.
A farmer is expected to plant the vines in full sun except in very hot areas where partial shade is preferable. The vine can be rather rampant, so it is important to plant it next to a chain link fence or install a strong trellis before planting. The plants can also be cultured into an attractive arbor. Pruning is necessary to keep the vines within bounds, to make harvest easier and to keep the plants productive by maintaining vigorous growth.
Passion fruit vines need fertile soils, probably additional fertiliser, and they appreciate all the compost and mulch you can spare. A healthy soil, teeming with worms and microbes and lots of organic matter is your best bet.
The root system of passion fruit is small for the size of the plant it has to sustain. Especially while a passion fruit is fruiting, it needs a lot of water. It needs a very regular water supply at all times. However, passion fruit can’t handle waterlogged soil. Make sure your site is free draining.
When to harvest
When the fruits are ripe they will drop. Dropping on the ground does not hurt the fruits. Passion fruit can be collected in bags and stored for weeks.
Market for passion fruits
There is growing consumer interest internationally in general and this means opportunity for Kenyan farmers. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations, the international market for passion fruit is growing due to the consumer trend of seeking more and more exotic fruit varieties. The FAO Trade statistics in recent years show that the United States, EU, Japan and China are the largest importer of tropical fruits.
In addition, if you buy passion fruit seedlings from us, we guarantee a market for you. Call us today and place your order.
Passion-fruit farming could be an extremely remunerative enterprise in Kenya with high and regular income. It is one of the biggest fruit exported by Kenya.
The local market demand is also quite high. The crop is pliable to a good agro-ecological zone from low lands to the highlands. The demand for the fruit on every export and domestic market keeps on growing.
Large quantities of passion fruits are eaten raw locally and at constant time, they’re conjointly exported. East Africa could be a massive provider of recent purple passion fruits to the export market followed by Brazil, Colombia, Zambia and Rhodesia; of that the U.K is that the largest customer. Different exporters embrace Holland, France, United Arab Emirates, German and Belgium.
There are 2 kinds of Passion fruits wide fully grown in Kenya; Yellow and purple. Purple varieties do well at higher altitudes than the yellow varieties. Yellow varieties, on the other hand, tend to yield higher and are resistant against diseases.
The purple selection is acidic, varies in style and appetizing with intense aromatic scent and spherical in form. The yellow Passion-fruit is larger, with similar style however presumably less aromatic, additional acidic and is also spherical in shape.
The fruit will be eaten raw or consumed when extracting the pulp and making juice. The juice is used during a kind of product and the pulp could also be superimposed to completely different dishes. A good vary of cosmetic product and food flavors are derived from the fruit that’s made in Vitamins A and C and carotene.
Passion-Fruit Farming Expected Returns
Most Kenyan farmers have the concern of attempting out some new crop as they’re not perpetually positive of the quantity of profits or losses to be incurred within the whole method. Reality is that, in passion-fruit farming, yields of over 15-20 tonnes are possible. In one year, a farmer might earn up to Sh1 million per acre as compared to 35,000-60,000 shillings earned from wheat or maize farming. A ¼ acre can grow about 350 passion plants or more. One plant with good care can produce 10–15 kg of fruits in a year. Passion fruits sell for Ksh40–100/kg while grade 1 for export can go for around Ksh70–100/kg.
Passion fruit farming has become popular in Kenya, for example the North rift farmers are moving away from maize to passion which has better returns, cheaper to maintain and ready market going as far as Uganda.
The passion plant is a climber; this means there can be creative ways of maximizing on the little space you have. It is concerning time that additional farmers are venturing into passion-fruit farming. This can be one area that with no doubt, one is in a position to reap huge throughout harvest season.
PASSION FRUIT SUBSTITUTION FOR MAIZE FARMING IN NORTH RIFT
North Rift has been related to maize, wheat and dairying for an extended time however the trend is currently shifting to passion fruits farming. Most farmers are currently turning to passion fruits growing that they are saying has a lot of returns as compared to different enterprises.
Agricultural officers in Uasin Gishu acknowledges that fruit has emerged because the most well-liked fruit within the country and is unfold throughout the six divisions within the district.
Eldoret West district agricultural officer Joseph Cheboi notes that passion fruit cultivation has emerged as the best enterprise within the county though production is seriously being hampered by the incidences of diseases like woodiness virus, brown leaf spot and wilt.
Mr. Cheboi says that the world received a serious boost once techno serves trained passion fruit teams concerned in passion fruit production. There are enhanced returns per acre as compared to different enterprises that are historically practiced as an example maize, wheat and farm.
He adds that the ratio analysis of 1 acre of passion fruit is up to KSH 827,452 adding that the figure comes from a mean yield of 670kg p.a. at a mean value of KSH 30-50 per metric weight unit less operating price of five %.
Mr. Cheboi says that as compared with cereals and farm sector, passion fruit surpasses in terms of returns. However, he noted that it doesn’t mean that farmers have abandoned the growing of maize and wheat and rearing of animals- however the most financial gain jobholder that unfold for over five years is the fruit.
However, he says that farmers within the locality are growing passion fruits on different enterprises. Uasin Gishu county has 279 hectares under passion fruit cultivation, against a complete of 8, 204 tons that has earned farmers KSH 410 Million. He says that the farmers acquire certified seedlings from registered nurseries unfold throughout the country. There are over two hundred registered nurseries within the county manufacturing the seedlings.
You can reach us today and learn more about passion fruit farming. We also deliver grafted passion fruit seedlings at an affordable price. Book you seedlings today.
The shortage of passion fruits for domestic and commercial consumption has sparked a rise in price as the entities strive to meet their fruit needs. The disparity in supply is evident from the margin of the cost of passion fruits in the various towns in Kenya. Passion fruit demand has many a time, been high as soft drink companies strive to meet this raw material. They are forced to import the fruits, with some of them bringing in concentrates because the fresh produce is also limited internationally. Kenya Agricultural Livestock Research Organisation’s Horticulture Research Institute officer Peter Mburu said increased demand makes passion fruit a better agribusiness venture than maize, which on many occasions, does not repay the invested production costs. On ordinary supply, a kilo of the passion fruits sells at about Sh80 but today a kilo of passion fruits can fetch you more than a hundred.
How to Grow Passion Fruit
The pH of the soil should be between 6.5 and 7.5. If it is lower, lime needs to be applied and incorporated into the soil several weeks prior to planting. Sodium levels in the soil must be low and application of a thick layer of mulch is strongly recommended as passion fruits are shallow rooted and are easily damaged by weeding or drought stress. Under good water and nutrient management, passion fruits can also be grown in big containers. The crops like a site in full sun to partial shade. They are grown along strong trellis, usually erected from wooden poles about 2m high and strong galvanised wires of about 6m (20ft) length. Spacing between rows is 3m. Part of this space can be utilised by intercropping with cherry tomatoes and cape gooseberries. Spacing between vines in a row is 5m. The main growing vine is trained along the wires. Fruits only grow on the side shoots called laterals and are trained so that they hang straight down. Once a lateral reaches the ground, it is cut off.
Passion fruits can easily be grown from seeds, however, Oxfarm Organic Limited recommends vines grafted onto yellow passion fruit rootstock is as they have better disease and nematode resistance.
Water regularly and ensure good soil fertility by incorporating large amounts of compost, mulching and monitoring potassium and calcium levels. Too much nitrogen encourages only leaf growth at the expense of fruiting.
Regular pruning will improve production and keep your vines healthy. Side-shoots that develop from the laterals should be removed to keep your vines tidy, easy to harvest and allow good aeration.
Do not let your laterals get entangled with each other. Fruits are only borne on new shoots, therefore, cut each lateral back to a newly developing side shoot close to the main vine after all fruits have been harvested from the lateral.
The main vine will continue growing and producing new laterals.
Spread Of Pathogens
Hygiene in your plantation is extremely important. Always prune any diseased or dead plant parts and destroy them. Disinfect your tools and hands during pruning to avoid spread of pathogens. The diseases to watch out for:
Dieback is caused by Fusarium or Phytophtora infections, which are both fungal diseases. The use of toxic fungicides should be limited to the necessary minimum. To prevent fungal diseases, frequently spray with this homemade organic fungicide:
Crush 2kg of coriander seeds and boil them for 10 minutes in 10 litres of water. Chop 40 onions and pour the hot coriander-water over the onions. Leave them to soak for 24 hours. Filter through a cloth and dilute with 20 litres of water and spray.
Brown spot (Alternaria passioflorae) and Leaf spot (Septoria passioflorae) are also fungal diseases that can be prevented by good plantation management, hygiene and the same regular fungicide applications as those of dieback (above). Symptoms are spots on leaves and fruits, eventually making them drop.
Woodiness is a virus infection that is transmitted during pruning or grafting and also through sucking insects like aphids. It occurs mainly during the cooler season. Symptoms are mottled foliage and malformed fruits with a thickened, hard rind, producing no pulp. Disinfect tools and hands and immediately remove and destroy diseased vines.
Mealy bugs (Planococcus kenyae) are small, oval insects covered in white, waxy fluff. They attach themselves near the fruits and leaves and weaken the vines by sucking honeydew.
Excess honeydew also promotes the development of black mould, which covers entire leaves and vines and can eventually kill the plant as photosynthesis is restricted.
Similar damage is done by aphids and white flies. Build-up of aphid colonies often starts on nearby plants. Therefore, scout your plantation regularly before any pest takes over whole vines. A pest infestation is usually a sign of bad water and nutrients management.
Sucking bugs like Leptoglossus membranaceusor Anaplocnemis curvipes are easily identified by their enlarged, bow-shaped hind legs. They damage fruits by leaving pimply pierce marks that are sometimes are confused with woodiness virus.
NB! To curb the pests, mix 30 to 40ml of neem oil with a litre of water. Add a teaspoon of liquid soap and mix well. Use immediately as a spray, covering also the undersides of the leaves. Neem oil is not a poison but a deterrent, which is always preferable in food crops. Well-kept vines will produce fruits for three to five years. The crop starts flowering about six months after transplanting and fruits ripen in about two-and-a-half months after they set. Harvest in the morning and avoid post-harvest damage by handling the fruits carefully. A well-kept plantation will produce about six to seven tonnes per acre. Always start with a soil test.
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