Passion fruit production in Kenya

Purple passion is an important commercial fruit in Kenya grown for both the export and domestic markets. In Kenya, the two varieties (Purple and Yellow) are grown and used as fresh fruit or for processing into juices. Yellow passion is gaining prominence due to its demand in fruit juice processing with the leading counties being Kwale, Meru, Bungoma, Lamu, and Embu (HCD 2018). The purple passion fruit (passiflora edulis) is the most commonly grown passion for commercial purpose in Kenya and mainly grown for fresh and juice extraction in high potential or cool areas. The leading counties in production of purple passion are Elgeyo Marakwet, Migori, and Bungoma counties.

The passion fruit market include export, local fresh and processing. It is also popular in the cottage industry for fresh juice especially in Uganda which is one of the leading market destinations. In 2017-2018, the area under passion fruit production in Kenya increased from 2,157 Ha to 2,296 Ha according to the Horticultural Crops Directorate (HCD 2018). Production and value also dropped by 12,499 tons and Kshs 109 million due to diseases such as fusarium wilt, dieback and woodiness virus disease. The decline in volumes led to decrease in value.

Why the focus on passion fruits?

Passion fruits are grown for both the export and domestic markets. It is a very popular fruit in the domestic market either used as fresh fruit or for processing into juices.

Challenges in the passion fruit value chain

The major challenge in passion fruit production is lack of clean planting materials free from Fusarium wilt which is rampant in the country. Other challenges include the; limited knowledge by producers on value addition to the fruit products; pests and diseases affecting passion fruitCoried Bugs, Green stinkbug, the Kenya Mealybug, Brown Spot Disease, Fusarium wilt Disease: Phytophthora Root Crown rots and Woodiness virus.

Nutritional value of passion fruits

Passion fruit is used as food, and reduces iron deficiency anemia since it has high content of iron and vitamin C. The pulp and juice act as a mild laxative and protects the stomach lining (constipation). On a different note, passion can be used as hedge and also for soil improvement.

MARKUP interventions in the passion fruit value chain

  • Collaborate with research institutions to create awareness among smallholder farmers on planting or using of a resistant varieties.
  • Strengthening the capacity of farmer and marketing associations to assist farmers groups in enhancing propagation methods and availing clean planting materials; linking the markets with producers and training producers on value addition and structuring the industry to meet the competitive standards for the EU and EAC markets.
  • Collaboration between Government of Kenya ministries at national and county levels and other stakeholders to establish sustainable solutions for the industry.