Passion fruits are known to be one of the most highly paid for fruits in Uganda and they are quite easy to grow. The passion fruit is a perennial fruits and they grow while climbing on others for support as they search for sunlight.
These can bring in a lot of income but this all depends on the management that is good management of the farm brings in good profit whereas poor management brigs in less profits and sometimes loses.
The good thing about passion fruit growing is that you can be plant it with other crops thereby allowing you to benefit from them as well as the other crops in the garden.
The type that is majorly grown in Uganda includes the yellow and purple passion fruit and this generates a lot of income for those who are interested in commercial farming.
Some of few things that you need to know before and do before you start the project of passion fruit growing are listed below:
Research the market
Before you venture into the passion fruit growing business, you need to first research about the market and find out whether you will manage to grow them and the pricing on the current market. You need to find out which type you need to grow and whether you have market even outside Uganda. After doing research, look at your budget.
This determines whether you are going to have a large farm or small scale farm. Before purchasing land and other materials that you will need at the start, you need to first plan according to the budget and income at the hand and if the money is not enough, if you have the capacity to pay back then you can borrow to make a good modernized passion fruit farm.
Choose the location of the farm
Passion fruits grow in good soil that is very conducive for planting. You need to look for a place that has labor, market nearby and it has to be accessible. Before you start planting you need to focus on the weather to notice whether the plants will get enough sunlight and you also need to taste soil for temperature and water retention to see whether it is compatible for passion fruit growing.
How to select the seeds to use
When selecting the seeds to use, you need to look for seeds that are disease free and they should be compatible with the soil. When you start extracting the seeds make sure you don’t use nets because they gather a lot of moist and make the seeds more prone to diseases.
You also need to check the leaves to notice if the shoots and leaves are not molted and stunted because it’s a sign of virus and when purchasing the seeds buy from a well-known person you trust to avoid getting poor quality seeds that will yield to nothing.
The Seed extraction process
Seed extraction is not a long process but an easy one once you learn the basics. The seeds are extracted from ripe passion fruits and it should be from parent plant. Once the seeds are extracted, you need to put them in water in order to separate the pulp from the seeds for about three days.
After three days, dry them from a shade and to avoid loss of viability of the seeds they need to be kept in a dark, cool and dry place.
The seeds can be planted into wide bags of 6cm that has sterilized soil or prepared in a seed bed.
If the land has trees and grasses make sure you slash it and to eliminate weeds use herbicides. Dig a hole of 30cm by 30 cm and the soil removed should be mixed with manure to make it fertile for passion growing before placing it back in the hole.
You should dig a small hole and add Diammonium phosphate fertilizer in a quantity of 5 grams. After adding the fertilizer, cove it and then plant the passion. These should have a spacing of 3cm by 3cm for easy growth.
The passion should be planted on land that gets enough sunlight and when transferring the seedlings to the main garden this should be done during the rainy season and either in the evenings or in the morning.
The capacity of the land also matters. If you have an acre you can grow an average of 550 seedlings but this mainly depends on the fertility of the soil and if they are cared and managed for well, their kilograms increase and you end up earning more than what is expected and what was invested.
Fertilization of the garden
Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus can be added after one month to the garden and this can be put around the passion fruit in s circle dug around it. These should be applied at least every after two months and until the passion starts sprouting flowers.
When the flowering stage starts then start applying potassium only as this will help in the growth of the passion fruit.
There are two commonly methods used when planting passions and these include the trellising method where the plants have enough space and can receive enough sunlight. This method is where the passion fruit plant is spread sideways and the ropes for climbing lie horizontally.
The other method is known as the elaborate trellising system and in this the plastic ropes run across the poles that help the plants stand straight with a lot of shed for the plants.
Both the above methods are good but the most used and recommended is the trellising system since in this the plants are very well spaced which allows the plants to get enough sunlight for better growth.
Harvesting of the passion fruits
Harvesting of the passion fruits is not hard but you need to harvest only those that are ripe and not the ones that re not because they will rot and leads to loses. When you harvest only ripe ones there is a higher chance of them staying fresh for a longer period of time.
The fruits that are being harvested should not be scorched and while harvesting the containers being used should be big and aerated to reduce the rotting and after picking make sure you grade and sort them. This makes it easy to transport to the different market areas.
Why you should venture into passion fruit growing
Passion fruits are advantageous to the farmer and the buyer and some of its benefits include
- The venture provides employment to the different people inform of labor to work on the farm hence reducing the unemployment rate in the country.
- It provides income to the farmers through the different sales that are made and this has improved the standard of living of the farmers.
- The passion fruits are a source of nutrients and in most cases are taken by sick a person which gives them energy.
- The passion fruits can be planted with other crops since it grows vertically and this allows the farmer to benefit from other crops like cassava, beans.
Challenges faced I passion fruit growing in Uganda
The challenges or problems faced and what causes some of these problems include the following:
- The passion can produce the flower but does not bring out any fruit. This might be caused by the too hot or cold weather which does not allow pollination to take place easily or due to less nutrition in the soil leading to loses.
- The other challenge is growing the fruits with soft seeds inside but no juice. This could be caused due to lack of enough water for the passions as they grow. It should be noted that they need a lot of water and therefore need to be watered regularly.
- The passion fruits may be attacked by diseases or viruses and this is seen from the leaves as they turn yellow. Passion that is attacked by viruses cannot be sold on the market because of the poor quality it shows.
- The competition with other farmers is another challenge where you find a lot of poor quality and cheap passion fruits on the market and this might lead to loses as they have to reduce their prices to match with other farmers.
- The ever changing weather of Uganda affects the passions. There are times when there is a dry spell across the country and this leads to stunted growth of the passions in the garden.
- The fake fertilizers sold on the Ugandan market have become a problem because it may hurt the passion fruits leading to their stunted growth.
- There is also lack of qualified labor in some districts in the country and this reduces the quality of the passions being sold due to poor care and management.
These challenges can be overcome and you benefit from the farming, all you need is persistence and you will start earning big from the passions.