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How To Mint Passion Fruits Money

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Passion fruits (obutunda), are a cash crop. Passion fruits can be grown on a small piece of land. The fruit can also be grown anywhere.

A farmer can either grow hybrid or local varieties. Local varieties have a better taste than hybrids.

However, the advantage with the hybrid is that they last longer than the local variety because they are not susceptible to root and collar rot diseases.

Hybrids also produce more fruits, which is why commercial farmers go for them. Local varieties are also less capital-intensive as they do not require beds on which the vines creep.

On the other hand, hybrids need these beds, because the plants require support as a result bearing many fruits. In Uganda, passion fruits can be grown in the districts of Kisoro and Bushenyi, central region as well as the Rwenzori and Elgon sub-regions.

How to grow passion fruits

Passion fruits are mainly grown from seeds, which can be bought from a farm supply shops. After drying the seeds, they are planted in a nursery bed which has soil mixed with compost manure.

In the first week, the seedbed should be mulched to provide the seedlings with warmth, which is vital for germination. After that, a shelter is made out of leaves or grass and erected over the nursery bed.

The shelter should be made in such a way that it allows free circulation of air and the bed must be watered regularly. After germinating, the seedlings should be potted in polythene bags and watered.

But, farmers should ensure that they do not use a lot of water as this might cause root rot.

The seedlings should be transferred to the main garden after a month. But before transferring them to the garden, holes of 3 by 3 feet should be dug a month earlier and manure put in them.

A spacing of 8 by 8 feet should be followed while planting the passion fruits in the main garden.

Farmers are advised not to leave a depression at the core root of the plant as this may result in water logging, hence root rot.

A trellis made from logs and reeds should be constructed in the garden and strings or wires on which the passion fruit vines can creep.

Passion fruits begin flowering at six months and a farmer can begin picking ripe fruits six months after flowering.

One should pick only the fruits that have fallen on the ground, but if the demand is high, harvest the mature purple fruits.

To increase the shelf time of the fruit, harvest with its stock.

Pests and diseases

These include woodness virus, septoria spot, cucumber mosaic virus, mealy bugs, fruit flies and fusarium wilt. These can be managed by either spraying with pesticides or in worst cases uprooting affected crops so that the diseases are isolated.

Projection

Bashir Mayiga, a passion fruit farmer, says 400 to 500 passion fruits can be planted in an acre and a farmer can harvest three to six sacks of fruit per week from an acre if all goes well.

Under good management, passion fruits can last four years. During this period, a farmer will be picking fruits at regular intervals. The average price of a kilogramme is sh3,000 at the moment, while at the peak, each fruit costs an average of sh100, while a sack at the moment costs between sh300,000 and sh350,000 in most markets in the city.

Modest harvests per acre of a well-kept passion fruit farm are over sh45m, against an operational expense of around sh27m for the first planting season.

This gives a profit of sh18m per acre. The profits go up in subsequent harvests since cost of production decreases.

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