Growing Yellow Passion in Kenya To Meet Global Demand

For years, Kenya has been growing passion fruit, with farmers producing an average of 3,300 kilos per hectare. This is relatively smaller than the average production per hectare in the world of 8000 kilos. However, since 2011, yellow passion has supplemented purple passion to become the main varieties in the country. Others include giant passion, banana passion and sweet passion. After 2010, the crop increased in demand, with farmers in Kenya growing it in over 5,418 hectares, with equivalent yields of 55,094 metric tons. Though the purple variety is the best known in the country, the yellow cultivar is the most abundant in world markets.

The growth of the yellow passion fruit (passiflora edulis var flavicarpa), according to the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS) is possible in the mid-lowlands of tropical countries, of at least an altitude of 1200 meters. It performs well in the eastern parts of the Rift Valley at elevations below 1800 meters.  The fruit size is usually larger than that of purple passion, a reason it is popular with reseller markets in many parts of Kenya. The resistance of the plant against certain bacterias has made it a popular grafting choice for small-scale farmers who want to eradicate pathogens in purple passion. The rootstock of the yellow passion variety serves as a grafting material for a more disease-resistant fruit.

An essential detail to learn about yellow passion export is how Kenya has been able to meet the minimum residual level. In fact, the reason the passion fruit business still lags behind mangos and bananas as the three most popular fresh fruits from Kenya is the chemical restrictions that inhibit farmers from planting more. Passion is susceptible to fusarium wilt, as well as, die back disease. Both are fungal infections. Farmers have been able to overcome some of these issues by:

•Choosing a grafted yellow passion and purple passion combination. This reduces the use of chemicals.

•Certifications through the Good Agricultural Practices (KenyaGAP) has also helped reduced EU rejections.

•A few farmers in Western Kenya such as Siaya have also made the region a new passion fruit area. Because the area is not prone to woodiness, a viral infection that causes a hard fruit, it has helped to boost production levels in the country.

Kinds of Yellow Passion Exports

Kenya processes yellow passion for processing as a raw fruit with its yellow, pulpy and slightly acidic taste. Like purple passion, which is common for juice processing,  the yellow variety has more juice, a reason it has become a popular choice for juice processors locally and abroad. You can import the fruits when still fresh or as locally made juice.

The peak period for harvesting this fruit in Central, Eastern and Rift Valley counties of Kenya is between August through December. This meets with a low production period  in Western countries due to fall and winter seasons. The low season is between January through August when other countries, especially Zimbabwe and South Africa also export theirs.

Local Market Price

In the local markets like Nairobi, Nakuru and Mombasa, passion fruit sells between KSH20 to KSH30 for every kilogram. But with biannual harvests, since the fruit needs just half a year to mature, it is possible to get more out of the fruit.

Brief Nutritional Information

The yellow color of the passion fruit comes from the presence of beta carotene. This is a vitamin A building ingredient which turns into the vitamin through liver digestion. It has many antioxidants that can reduce the onset of cancer and cardiac diseases. It is also a healthy remedy against high blood pressure.

So, if you value tropical fruits that are in short supply but are in high demand, then Kenya yellow passion is a definite choice. The local variety has widened its market reach in the EU due to the intervention of the Pesticide Control Board (PCB), which only approves the use of a single herbicide and a single pesticide. These have no effect on the minimal residue level of less than 0.01. Furthermore, the use of farmyard manure has reduced fertilizer application, all of the factors that boost the fruit’s natural appeal.  Talk to us at Selina Wamucii for more information about how you can order yellow passion.