Farmers may have the passion to grow passion fruits, however, many are hindered by failure to do the right calculations (ekibalo) before and during production.
Passion fruit growing is one of the profitable enterprises if one understands what is required to give the plants what they need to thrive.
The fruits, which come in various varieties, are mainly used for making juice. Measured per acre as a standard unit, passion fruits give more profit in the shortest possible time compared to other fruits, including citrus.
This is the first variable in passion fruit growing. To make a profit, you need at least a quarter of an acre to start with. Land may be bought, inherited or hired. The cost of land varies, depending on the region.
Clearing an acre of land costs sh150,000 on average in the central, eastern, northern and western parts of the country. This can be lower or higher, depending on the labour demand in a given area. Here, you can slash, dig or cultivate using a hand hoe or tractor.
It is advisable to use a tractor to soften the soil since passion fruits have small roots that need soft soil.
However, if you are to spray, you need six litres of the herbicide, each going for sh15,000, totalling sh90,000.
Cost of seedlings:
You need quality seeds of a good variety, poles for a rack, used fishnets, wires, fertilizers, crop sprayer, herbicides and workers. The costing below is for one who wants to set up a one-acre passion fruit farm.
Some of the seedlings can be sourced from established nursery beds.
You need 750 seedlings for an acre and each costs sh1,500. You need one sprayer, sold at about sh60,000.
These help in creating the trellis (ekitandaalo) for the plants. It helps the branches to spread, hence fruit more. For one acre, you need a total of 820 poles, each going for sh3,000, subject to size, place and distance. This means you need sh2,460,000 for the lot.
For an acre, you will use four rolls of wire, each going for sh120,000. Here, you need sh480,000. Used fishnets help in creating the top canopy for the plants. You need 15 used fishnets, each going for sh25,000, totalling sh375,000. Fertilisers are a must.
You need three 50kg bags of NPK, each at sh140,000. This means you will need sh420,000. You will also need four bags of CAN, each going for sh100,000, totalling sh400,000.
These may cost you an average of sh1.5m.
You need two workers, at an average salary of sh200,000 each. This means you will need sh400,000 per month for labour. Passion fruits take five months to mature, which means you will need sh1m.
Water for irrigation:
Most farmers depend on the two rainy seasons for water, however if a farmer irrigates during the dry seasons (May-August) and
December-February), yields increase. You need a water source, which may be a pond/well, plus a dispenser,
for example, a water gun and pipes.
This one-off purchased system costs between sh3m-sh6m. It can be used for several years without replacement.
Passion fruits are kept in clean sacks after harvest. Each sack costs sh2,000. Overall, minus land, the cost is sh8m, from planting to harvesting. There are two seasons per year.
By six months you will be able to harvest 4 bags a week at sh350,000 each = sh1,400,000
In the 4 weeks, you will get sh5,600,000+
Each plant can bear 700 fruits in its lifetime of three years each sh100 each sh70,000
70,00 X 750 plants in an acre = sh52,500,000