Passion Fruit Makes Inroads for Kenya Farmers in the Top 5 Export Destinations

Stories abound about how farmers can make millions out of their passion fruit orchards-and it is true. It is perhaps the only fruit that has export bases to even other tropical nations. For instance, Guatemala, a key source of avocados and other tropical fruits imports passion fruit from Kenya and so does Uganda. At the head of the pack is the UK. The country receives its supplies from Colombia and Africa. With this i mind, here is a look at the biggest importers whose rankings on the volumes they import from Kenya have changed in recent years.

The UK

Britain imports the biggest percentage of passion fruits from Kenya. UK companies process their raw fruits into puree that has very viscous or solid matter at between 12.5 and 16° Brix. They then re-export the blended fruit juice to other countries in Europe. Because of the prevalence of many direct importing companies from the UK, it therefore makes sense that passion fruit from Kenya will always have demand.


Though the trade has simmered down in recent years, Uganda was the biggest importer of passion fruit from Kenya at the turn of the decade. In 2010, Uganda imported 76% or three quarters of the total overseas sales of Kenya passion fruits. In 2011, the total exports to Uganda declined to 67.4% but still the country was the leading destination. In 2018, farmers who have abandoned their maize fields in Uasin Gishu in the heart of the Rift Valley are eyeing Uganda, which is accessible by road as a potential market for their passion fruit.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands was once the biggest European importer of passion fruits from Kenya. In 2010, it accounted for 8 percent of all sales from Kenya. Holland makes in-roads for resellers because of its strategic direct route by air from Nairobi. The reseller market for the fruits provides opportunities for local importers to cash in from processing, repacking and blending for their EU-wide clients.


A perennial destination of Kenya and Zimbabwe passion fruits, Belgium has always sourced from diverse corners of the globe. Because each source consists of particular unique qualities, there is no competition between the countries. For instance, Kenya’s purple passion has a relatively different taste from its Zimbabwean counterpart and so Belgians go for either for select customers.

Other Destinations

The other major importers of Kenya passion fruit from Europe are Germany and France. The latter country accounted for 2 percent of table fruits from Kenya in 2010. The Middle East , especially the United Arab Emirates is one of the friendliest zones for the export of passion fruits because of less concern about quality parameters as in Europe. The region had the third highest import levels in 2010 a 4 percent. This was buoyed by the need for puree and other concentrates from the fruit as well as health concerns of sedentary diseases like diabetes in the Arab World.

When to Export

The real peak season may start around August while the low season is January through August when the weather is conducive to grow in export destinations. The exact timing to make millions for passion fruit farmers in the international markets is around December to mid-February. By then, major producers such as Israel, Columbia and South Africa have uncertain supplies. This is sometimes partly due to the excessive demand of the fruits by bottlers in Europe and the Middle-east such as Pepsi and Coca-cola for making enriched soft drinks.

For a fruit that came to Kenya around 1920, passion fruit has still remained elusive because of pest problems that inhibit farmers from full-scale cultivation. In fact, their purpose for early production in the 20th century was to make juice. This has slightly changed as the bulk of importers prefer table fruits. The UK for instance buys the fruits whole to process them locally.