Passion fruits are mainly grown from seeds, which can be bought from a farm supply shop or got from healthy passion fruits
A sack of passion fruits costs between sh400,000 and sh500,000. Passion fruits are, therefore, a high-value crop worth investing in.
Overall, it takes sh7.5m to set up an acre of passion fruits and manage it through six months.
The money can pay each employee (at least two) sh150,000 monthly for six months, which comes up to sh1,800,000 in wages, then 750 seedlings at sh1,500 each (totalling sh1,250,000), then spend at least sh1,230,000 on poles for setting up the supportive bed. The balance can be used to buy insecticides and other inputs.
After six months, you will start harvesting at least four bags a week, but the harvest grows as the orchard further matures. Average farm gate price per bag is sh350,000 and this gives sh1,400,000 per week.
You will harvest from the orchard for at least three years.
UPF 12 is the commonest variety. Passion fruits are mainly grown from seeds, which can be bought from a farm supply shop or got from healthy passion fruits.
If you want to prepare your own seeds, follow the processes strictly.
A fruit with a dark purple colour is a sign that it has good seeds.
After drying the seeds, plant in a nursery bed with soil mixed with compost manure.
In the first week, the seedbed should be covered with mulch to provide warmth, which is vital for germination.
Later on, provide a shelter made out of leaves or grass and erect it over the nursery bed. The shelter should be made in such a way that it allows free circulation of air. The bed must be watered regularly (at least twice a week, morning and evening).
After germinating, the seedlings should be put in polythene bags.
Do not over-water them as this might cause root rot.
A stem needs at least five litres of water per watering session.
The seedlings take two to three months before being transferred to the garden. Dig holes of 3ftx3ft a month earlier and put manure in them. You need at least 750 seedlings for each acre.
A spacing of 8ftx8ft should be followed while planting.
Setting up ekitandalo (trellising)
A table (ekitandalo) made from logs as stands and reeds, fishing nets and wires should be constructed in the garden so that the fruit vines can attach themselves and climb.
Each post should be at least 9fx2ft, which will be covered in the hole, while 7ft will be above ground. This also allows for easy weeding.
Set the poles at a distance of at least 12ft from each other. An acre can accommodate at least 500 posts. Each of these costs about sh1,000.
After erecting the posts, set wire trellis to support the growing crop and fruits. It is important to use galvanized wires. An acre will need at least four rolls. Each costs between sh100,000-sh120,000.
You also need 45 pieces of old fishing nets to complete the setup.
Fishing nets have proved to be strong and more long-lasting than other nets. Each costs between sh25,000 and sh30,000. You will also need at least 5kg of nails, each costing sh5,000.
Compiled by Joshua Kato (editor Harvest Money), Bashir Mayiga (owner Bwasandeku mixed farm)