If there is any crop that can unlock your farm’s fortunes, and make you scream alleluia, then it is passion fruit farming.

I am saying this because the fruit has proven to have the following advantages:

  • A low cost of production
  • A ready market
  • Produce high yields per unit area,
  • Yield reasonable profits for every acre of fruit.

As I write this to you, Kenyan and farmers around the world, who are taking the cultivation of passion fruits seriously are smiling all the way to the bank.

The only complaint they have is, “not knowing the secret of growing passion fruit soon enough.”

Sounds unbelievable?

Despite your fervent interest, I know you may have many questions.

For example:

  • How much land do I need to start a passion fruit farm?
  • The financial benefits of growing passion fruit.
  • Profit margins possible from passion fruit farming
  • What inputs do I require to start a passion orchard?
  • Where do I sell harvested mature passion fruits?
  • Where do I get passion fruit seeds/ seedlings for my farm?
  • How do I carry out Routine management of my passion fruit orchard?
  • Climatic requirements for passion fruit growing

And many more questions.

This issues are many and will need a lot of space to handle.

Since I intend to write a comprehensive discussion about the passion fruit farming in Kenya, this article will be rather long.

Find a comfortable chair sit back and relax as you continue reading.

Amount of land you need for Profitable production of passion fruit

Since land is quite an emotive issue in Kenya–and other parts of the world.

For that reason, let us start addressing the size of land you need for successful growing of yellow or purple passion.

Here is good news—especially for small landowners.

“You don’t need to grow passion fruit on tens, hundreds or even thousands of acres of land to earn handsome revenues.”

One acre of passion fruit trees is sufficient for good returns. But there is a rider to that statement. Depending on the location of the land and target market, your production costs could influence your profitability.

Let me explain what I mean.

Suppose you have one acre of land in Busia (which is approximately 400 km from Nairobi), and if your target market in Nairobi, your passion fruit farm may not be as profitable. These low profits are because your production costs will be high, and would eat into your profit.

However, if your target market is the hotels within Busia county, then you are likely to make a kill—even from that one acre of land. All in all, to maximize profit, the further you are from the target market, the larger the area you need.

Before we continue with this discussion on the financial benefits of passion fruit tree farming, here is what other horticultural experts are saying:

Let us consider the next important factor for passion fruit production.

The benefits of growing passion fruit in Kenya.

  • You won’t be worried about the market for your product. There is high demand for the product both in the export and local market!
  • A passion fruit farm is easy to maintain; the only backbreaking job is during transplanting. Once that is over, the maintenance job is easy like drinking water.
  • Low input cost, high returns. Passion fruit farming is the only type of agriculture where you’ll have the opportunity to earn 400% or more profit.
  • You have the opportunity to intercrop the plant with other crops, thus maximizing on your farm’s revenue.
  • Three year-long harvest period is possible with passion farming. When you grow passion fruit, you are sure of earning a steady income once the crop starts yielding fruits and this will continue for the next three years.
  • Even small farms can produce huge profits.

Climatic Requirements For Profitable Passion Fruit Growing

The passion planting zone depends on the variety of the passion fruit.

The yellow passion can grow at an altitude of 0-1500 m above sea level and is tolerant to drought and fusarium wilt.

On the other hand, purple passion fruit prefers cool areas; therefore an altitude of 1200 m-1500m above sea level is best.

Both varieties prefer well-drained soils and can’t withstand water logging.

Feasibility of growing passion fruit in Kenya.

Anyone would be mad—including you and me—if they I ventured into passion fruit farming without considering its returns.

It is only natural that for passion farming to be of interest, its production cost MUST be lower than the expected revenue.

To arrive at that conclusion, you have to consider three things:

  1. The passions fruit’s market demand,
  2. The expected yield per acre, and
  3. It’s cost of production per acre.

The market demand for passion fruit

Let me assure you the selling price of passion fruit is extremely good.

When it comes to demand, the local market and export market are begging passion fruit farmers to supply more fruits to them. They can’t find sufficient passion fruits to satisfy their appetite. If you are an entrepreneurial farmer—like me, that is sweet news. When other farmers growing other crops lament, “We have no market for our products, you will be smiling all the way to the bank.”

To be satisfied that the demand is HIGH, I did a ‘little’ experiment. I walked to the city market in Nairobi to find out the price of a kilogram of passion fruits in Kenya. The figure the greengrocer gave me was a shocker. One passion fruit sold for KSH 15! I visited more vendors to be sure of the average selling price. Each passion fruit seller was trading at the cost of 15 shillings per fruit— imagine such astronomical prices. At that price, one kilo of passion in Kenya goes for over 200 shillings!

 Why such high passion prices?

The current prices of passion fruits as so good because the current demand for passion fruits exceeds supply. There are too many buyers chasing after too little passion fruits. Why not take advantage of the high prices and start production immediately?

Another reason I suppose for the passion fruit high prices is the rise in the demand for fresh juices. More and more people are now more aware of the health benefits of fresh passion fruit juice, passion fruit leaves, and the negative impact of synthetic extracts. This change of consumer preferences has made manufacturers like Coca-Cola, Delmonte, Kevian juices venture into processing passion fruit juices, mango juice, apple juice, grape juice and other fruit juices.

The math behind passion fruit profit millions

The passion fruit is a vining plant.

What this means is one single plant can grow to a length of over 20 meters.

One single plant can yield up to 100 kilos of fruit. With that understanding, we are now ready for the math.

1 acre is approximately 4000m2

The recommended spacing of passion fruit is 2 meters X 3 meters.

That means, one plant will need 24 meters square to grow well.

To find the number of plants per acre, you divide 4,000 by 6=666 plants.

At this spacing, one plant can yield up to 23 kg of fruit per season.

At such high production levels per plant, you’ll get up to 15 tons per acre of fruit.

If one kg sells at a conservative price of KSH 80, you will make sales of KSH1,200,000/=

If you factor in ALL the costs of production at KSH 480,000/=, you will make a net profit of KSH 720,000/=

The above mathematics is not a result of guesswork. Peter Mwirigi and others did research titled; Agronomic Management of Yellow Passion Fruit Among Farmers in Mbeere Sub-county, Kenya—they found out that passion fruit has higher returns than maize beans, tomatoes, and cabbage. You can read that research here for yourself.

Another way, to maximize on the returns of your passion farmland, is to intercrop the passion fruit with the various crops. Suitable crops for intercropping are; potatoes, beetroots, Swiss chard, carrots, spinach, strawberries, eggplants, pepper, onions, leek and head lettuce. Intercropping will make you get returns from multiple crops, something that is very good!

That’s not all.

Passion fruit profits become sweeter in the subsequent seasons because the plant can live up to 3 years without planting the orchard afresh. In following seasons, production costs reduce, thus increasing the possibilities of higher returns.

What you need to start a passion fruit farm.

  • Grafted Purple passion seedlings.
  • Farmyard manure
  • Conduct a soil test
  • Depending on the results of the trial, you will need inorganic fertilizers like DAP, CAN, Multi K prills, MAP, NPK, etc.
  • Plant hormones to initiate flowering and to regulate growth
  • Foliar feeds to spur the different cycles of plant growth to maximize returns.
  • Fungicides to manage diseases.

Where can I sell mature passion fruits profitably?

To get maximum returns for your passion fruit produce, you’ll need a little marketing creativity.

This creativity will involve avoiding selling the fruits in the local county government markets.

Instead, you’ll need to sell them to premium customers like supermarkets, high-end hotels, and exporters.

Since these will be your target market, you need to have clean fruits, free of bugs and deformities.

There are many exporting companies that you can approach before starting your farm.

For example, Lagran group contracts farmers to grow passion fruit, Hass avocado, rosemary and other vegetables.

Where to buy passion fruit seeds/ seedlings

I am sorry to break your heart. As we speak, in Kenya no seed companies are selling certified passion fruit seeds.

The reason for this could be that the demand of the seeds is too low to persuade seed companies to start producing accredited passion fruit seeds.

So how do you get the seeds to establish your passion fruit orchard despite this limitation?

Although no seed companies are selling passion seeds, some nurseries have passion seedlings for sale.

However, you can’t be too sure of the quality of those seedlings as the plant nurseries are not certified.

Unfortunately, you have to rely on their word—you can’t be too sure that they’ve raised the seedlings correctly.

That’s should not worry you. Getting your passion seeds or seedlings is easy and cheap. You can contact Farmers Trend nursery for seedlings on 0790-509684

Grafted purple passion seedlings being supplied by Farmers Trend, contact 0790-509684

How do I carry out routine management of my passion fruit orchard?

Passion fruit vines and fruits are susceptible to various diseases and pests that may prevent your success.

Therefore, to avoid spending much money and time on managing diseases and pests, you have to start your orchard right.

If you intend to grow purple passion fruit, establish your orchard with grafted purple passion seedlings whose rootstock is yellow passion fruit.

Manage diseases and pests promptly.

Since management of a passion fruit orchard is an extensive topic, check this detailed guide for managing a passion fruit farm.

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