Passion fruit replacing maize farming in North Rift

Passion plant bearing fruits
North Rift has been associated with maize, wheat and dairy farming for a long time but the trend is now shifting to passion fruits farming.Most farmers are now turning to passion fruits growing which they say has more returns as compared to other enterprises.
Agricultural officials in Uasin Gishu acknowledges that passion fruit has emerged as the most popular fruit in the country and is spread throughout the six divisions in the district.

Eldoret West district agricultural officer Joseph Cheboi notes that passion cultivation is an upcoming enterprise in the county although production is seriously being hampered by the incidences of diseases such as woodiness virus, brown leaf spot and fusarium wilt.
Mr Cheboi says that the sector received a major boost when techno serve trained passion fruit groups involved in passion fruit production.

“There are increased returns per acre as compared to other enterprises that have been traditionally practiced for example maize, wheat and dairy,” the district agricultural officer notes.
He adds that the gross margin analysis of one acre of passion fruit is up to KSH 827,452 adding that the figure is derived from an average yield of 670kg per year at an average price of KSH 30-50 per kg less working cost of 5 percent.
Mr Cheboi says that in comparison with cereals and dairy sector, passion fruit surpasses in terms of returns.
“This does not mean that farmers have abandoned the growing of maize and wheat and rearing of animals- but the main income earner that spread for over 5 years is passion fruit,” he observes.
However, he says that farmers in the area are growing passion fruits along other enterprises. Uasin Gishu county has 279 hactares under passion fruit cultivation, against a total of 8, 204 tonnes that has earned farmers KSH 410, 200,000. He says that the farmers acquire certified seedlings from registered nurseries spread throughout the country. There are over 200 registered nurseries in the county producing the seedlings.
He also says that the farmer should go for seeds and planting material from registered and reputable sources in consultation with Horticultural Crop Development Authority(HCDA) and officers from the Ministry of Agriculture.

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