Presently, the demand for fruits and vegies from Kenya has been temperate and high for both organic and value added products. Nonetheless, Most producers and companies exporting fresh fruits and vegetables from Kenya are both small and Medium with little if any investment capacity to broaden the production and take advantage of the market demand, and therefore have been unable to explore the export of value added products currently on demand in Europe and other International markets.
A good number of the current exports have been in raw fruits and vegetables and largely to the wholesale markets where competition is growing and prices going down. Currently, there are over 30 companies exporting fresh fruits and vegetables largely to the EU and, to a less extent, to the COMESA region, although the latter is largely informal. On average, the existing companies each exports 2 – 40 tonnes of fresh fruits per week, largely to the wholesale markets in Europe.
Competitiveness in Kenya rests with soils, irrigation, climate, opportunities, government policies as well as labour factor prices. Kenya has matchless comparative advantage for growing fruits and vegetables due to its warm, less humid tropical climate, plentiful rainfall and huge opportunities for irrigation. Soils of pH 5 to 6.5 are most ideal for the fruits (such as oranges, Avocados, mangoes and pineapples) and vast areas of this type is obtained in Kenya.
These soils are rare in the world. Kenya’s climate is summer all year round: moderate temperatures (15 -30ºC) throughout the year with a bi-modal rainfall pattern. The soils have low levels of contamination due to prolonged periods of minimal use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides creating natural quasi-organic conditions in most areas.
The November to February harvest period in Kenya coincides with the northern hemisphere winter – a period of peak demand for fresh fruits and vegetables in Europe.
There is plenty of land in the country that can be devoted to fruit farming. The government owned irrigation schemes can provide ample land. Besides there is an increasing number of out growers complimenting the raw material supply effort. The out growers however may be supported with skills, implements. An investor in fruit farming has the option of irrigating the fruit farms to ensure all year round production.
The demand for fresh fruits on a year-round basis is increasing, and consumers are willing to pay higher prices for out-of-season fresh fruits. Given EU market entry barriers, Kenya would rather target domestic, border and regional markets. Currently, there is an existing trade within the region supplying Southern Sudan, Uganda and Rwanda. The current production levels of fruits are yet to satisfy the domestic, border and regional demand. It is strategic to strengthen the existing trade which is not satisfied and yet expanding.
However, we have been advising our customers on the best practices that will ensure they sell their produce in the International markets.
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.
For grafted passion fruits, visit our offices. Book your seedlings now!!!!
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.
For more information, kindly contact us or visit our offices.
The rains are here with us once again. If you as a farmer have been thinking of becoming a great passion fruits farmer, this is the time.
Passion fruits are known to make the best juice and this makes the demand for export very high consequently making the price go high. Due to its acidity nature, passion fruit is highly recommended for juice blending. Passion fruit is commercially produced here in Kenya and is ranked third in categories of fruits exported. This is more reason farmers should establish passion fruits orchards.
There are two common species that are grown commercially in Kenya. The purple passion fruit is heavily grown in the highlands of Kenya mainly because of its flavor and aromatic taste while the yellow passion fruit is mostly grown `in the coastal region mainly for juice extraction due to its high acidity.
Now that the farmer knows where to establish the fruit farm and the two varieties that fits his location, lets learn how to make the best out of it. A light joke is made “passion fruits are like tourists”, they do well when there is enough light and sunlight. With the purple passion fruit, you can have more than three harvesting seasons and a long harvesting season for the yellow passion. This only happens if there is enough water and sunlight.
Before embarking on fruit farming, it is always right to conduct soil test and adjust if need be. Oxfarm Organic conducts soil test at very favorable prices.
I want to take you through how you establish a passion fruit orchard without much struggle and capital. I will assume you have a quarter acre of land ready to make your own orchard.
Requirements; you need about150-200 grafted seedlings from Oxfarm Organic Ltd. You can grow your own seedlings from seed but the disadvantages are enormous. Yellow passion fruit plants are drought resistant and are also disease resistant. So, Oxfarm organic and other modern farmers have invented a way of grafting the purple fruit with the yellow passion fruit. The purple is grafted on top of the yellow passion fruits which is used as rootstocks. Purple passion fruit is the darling of the market. One grafted seedling goes for Ksh 70 at Oxfarm Organic ltd. Since passion fruit is a climbing plant, you need two rolls of barbed wire, nails and around 240 pole to suspend the vines. The seedlings should be spaced by 3 by 2 meters and the holes filled with top soil mixed with compost manure. After all this is done and you have acquired your seedlings, it is time for transplanting.
Passion fruit plants have deep roots and proper harrowing is necessary to ensure the roots don’t hustle with the hard pans in the soil. Your relationship with your passion fruit orchard must have commitment if you are to enjoy the fruits of the passion plant. Prune unproductive shoots and dead wood. Passion fruits tend to have whiskers like cats, called tendrils; these must be pruned to allow for free air and light penetration and reduce incidences of diseases and pest epidemics.
In four to five months if the required care is carried out, you are ready for your first harvest abnd your ¼ Acre is likely to give you 2500Kg/ha the first year and 6000kg/ha in the subsequent years. When the fields register sharp declines in the fourth and the third years, its best for the farmer to replace his fields.
Passion fruits go for more than ksh 80/kg in major towns. The export market fetches further prices because it is the best. Grade one is the one that is three-quarter ripe, smooth with no bruises and of the standard size. The other grades include what is commonly found on our Kenyan markets. However, we all know the passion fruits with wrinkles are very sweet.
Yellow Passion: – (Passiflora edulis var flavicarpa) …
Sweet Passion or Sweet granadilla: – (Passiflora ligularis) …
Giant Passion or Granilla:- (Passiflora quadrangularis) …
Banana Passion:- (Passiflora mollissima)
Purple varieties do better at higher altitudes areas than the yellow types which does well in warmer areas. Yellow types tend to yield higher and are more resistant to diseases.
Altitude – Passion fruits do well in a wide range of altitudes from 1,200m to 1,800m above sea level East of the Rift Valley and up to 2,000m above sea level West of the Rift valley.
Temperature – Optimum temperature for purple passion fruit is between 18oC to 25oC and 25oC to 30oC for yellow passion fruit.
Rainfall – Rainfall should be well-distributed, between 900mm to 2,000mm per year. Excess rainfall causes poor fruit set and encourages diseases mainly leaf and fruit rusts.
Soil – Passion fruits do well in a variety of soils, which should be reasonably deep and fertile with the soil pH in the range of 6.0 to 6.5. Soil which are very acidic tend to reduce the uptake of the nutrients and also accelerates Fusarium wilt disease that causes rotting of roots.
Preparation of planting materials.
Passion fruit can be grown from seeds but we graft to produces improved stock. Yellow passion fruit is best for production of root stock because of superior disease resistance while purple is good for fruit production.
To reduce the germination period, we soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. After 3-4 months we transplant them to a suitable place in the farm since they will act as a source of scions. We then sow the seeds of yellow passion fruit in plastic sleeves similar to those that we use for purple passion. An important distinction between the seeds of the two varieties is, Yellow passion seeds are brown in color, while those of the purple passion are black in color. Fresh seeds tend to germinate faster than older seeds therefore using them saves about 1 week.
Grafting Passion Fruit Vines
This process involves the choosing the correct rootstock and scion and identifying the most appropriate and common grafting technique is wedge grafting. Success of the graft union depends on the experience of the farmer, the choice of rootstock and scion, management practices such as watering and cleanliness of graft union.
We graft yellow passion seedling when it attain a thickness of pencil since a thin, fleshy stem reduces the chances of successful graft union. Fleshy stems are prone to excessive transpiration thus leading to graft union failure. Once we select a suitable rootstock with the aforesaid qualities it is it defoliated, terminal end removed leaving a 8 cm long stem.
We select a scion of the same thickness of a pencil from an existing purple passion plant that is healthy and free from pests and diseases. The stem must be woody enough and have 2 to 3 buds and we completely defoliate reduce its rate of respiration.
We cut the basal end into a wedge shape that is 2 cm long to allow the xylem and the phloem vessels to be in contact with those of the rootstock. We then cut a slit of about 2 cm long on the rootstock using a clean surgical blade, in which a fitting scion from purple passion is inserted and tied. The graft joint is wrapped tightly using a plastic tape to ensure no air, water or fungi goes through the joint. After 3 weeks the graft union is healed we do the hardening of the plant before it is transplanted.
We transplant our seedlings at the beginning of the rainy season around April-June or on any other month depending on availability of irrigation water. Passion fruit has deep roots, so soils should be well-tilled. We elect posts to a field having wire trellis to support the growing crop and fruits produced. Passion vines are planted 2m from one row to the other and 3m from one plant to the other.
The vines are usually directed so that growth is in both directions along the supporting wires. Yields are highest following a regular fertilization regime. Old or dead shoots are pruned. We also inter crop with vegetables or other annuals is to utilize free space especially when the crop is young.
Once established, the vines grow rapidly and the fruit should flower after about seven months. Ideally, young passion vines should be set in the field early in the growing season after there is no danger of drought.