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.
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Seed extraction, planting and grafting
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.
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- 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
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people; they don’t need to work so hard nor climb to pick the nuts but wait for them to fall. The macadamia nut tree is indigenous to Australia but introduced in Kenya in 1945 to 1948. In Kenya, it grows roughly in the same climate suitable for growing coffee.
The grafted seedling takes 3-4 months to be ready for planting out in the farm. Seedlings are planting out in the field at a spacing of 9m x 9m or 10 m x 10 m or more if the trees are
intercropped with coffee or any other crop e.g. maize; however, if they are being planted as pure orchard, the spacing should be 4m x 10 m or 5 m x 10 m.
Kenya is sitting on a gold mine that if properly utilized would reap huge benefits for the country.
For many years, tea and coffee farming has been the major source of income for thousands of
farmers, however they are now changing tides and switching to macadamia nut farming.
Macadamia has become a lucrative produce all over sudden with a kilo of the nuts selling for
more than a hundred and a grafted seedling price shooting up from 300 to 500 Kenya Shillings.
Between1986 to 2002 the price ranged between 7 to 23 Shillings per kg., and in 2005 it averaged
80 Shillings per Kg.
The Kenya macadamia nut industry is currently made of approximately 900,000 trees of varying ages from one year to 20 years, grown by over 100,000 small scale farmers with an average of 6 -12 trees per grower. Annual production is about 4,000 metric tons of nuts-in-shell. These produce about 800 metric tons of marketable kernels, making the main commercial product. Other by products such as oil, are minimal. Producers get from nuts-in-shell Shillings 92 million per year.
Kenya is the third largest macadamia producer and the second largest exporter of macadamias. Many Kenyan farmers are integrating macadamia trees into their coffee and tea plantations. They view macadamia output as insurance against the uncertainties of weather which affect coffee and tea.
Passion fruit grows in warm to cool climates within altitude ranging from 1200-2000m. above sea level and minimum rainfall of 900mm per annum. The most suitable soil is medium texture (loamy), which are deep and well drained, with PH ranging from 5.5-7.5.
The apricot favors well drained soil but doesn’t like to be too dry especially in the summer. Providing a happy medium between the two will be key to success and it is up to you to judge the type of soil you already have and influence the structure as much as you can. Too light or sandy then pep it up with lots and lots of organic rich material. Too weighty or sluggish then alleviate it with lots of grit, sharp sand and leaf mold.
The soil should be well cultivated and friable; double dig-it over if it has not been cultivated before. Clear away all perennial weeds because the last thing you want is added competition from them when your trees are in settled, and growing.
Prepare a hole large enough to take the roots. Apricots are vigorous growers and you may find the root system larger than that of other trees. Set the tree to the same depth as it was at the nursery previously – examination of the stem should reveal the soil mark still identifiable and this will tell you how deeply it was set in the ground before. In any event the grafting point should sit above the soil level and the roots buried in not less than 2” of soil.
Dry mulches should be used to retain moisture while heavy banana stems should be supported to avoid damage. Old diseased leaves should be removed while de-leafing is important to ensure healthy growth. Harvesting begins after 15-18 months, and a light shiny appearance means that the banana is ready for harvest. Harvesting should be delicate to avoid bruising of the bananas. The bananas should be temporarily stored in a cool, dry place and should be wrapped in banana leaves or grass to avoid bruising. If for export, they should be washed using a disinfectant and might require branding.