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.
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