Animated Social Gadget - Blogger And Wordpress Tips

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Resilience set to pay off from yellow passion farming

By Bob Aston 

Starting an orchard has always been hard for most farmers as the duration that it takes for some fruits to mature is long. Despite this factor Francis Kinyanjui, a resident of Leleshwa B, Sipili Division in Laikipia County decided to venture into yellow passion farming and was not discouraged by the long wait.
Kinyanjui started growing yellow passion in 2012. He was scheduled to harvest for the first time last year but elephants destroyed all the trees. This did not deter him from pursuing his business venture and thus he decided to grow the fruits afresh.
Kinyanjui at his farm
Kinyanjui was initially concentrating on purple passion but the high growing cost and the fact that they are susceptible to various diseases made him to rethink its viability.

He decided to research and find out if he can graft them or if he can plant a different variety. It was during this period that he came to learn of a new variety called yellow passion which had been released by Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI).
“I learned that the yellow passion is high yielding, is resistant to Fusarium wilt and is tolerant to phytophthora root rot, nematodes, brown spot and woodiness virus and  more important they cut growing cost by half compared to the purple passion,” said Kinyanjui.
He has planted over 100 vines in a half an acre piece of land though he says the land can accommodate more than 300 plants. He expects each vine to yield 30 kg of fruits per year.
“Yellow passion yields more juice than the purple passion fruit. The fruit has a high acidity content and strong flavour,” said Kinyanjui.
Kinyanjui says that the yellow passion is a perennial plant which matures inside nine months and can be harvested four times a year, depending on the availability of rain or irrigation water. The vine has a lifespan of about 5-7 years. Carefully tended sweet yellow passion fruit vine will grow to a length of over 20 meters, after the first 4-5 months of transplanting.
“Lower growing cost of yellow passion ensures that one can realize higher profits,” said Kinjanjui.
Kinyanjui looking at some of the crops in the farm
Kinyanjui is set to harvest for the first time by the end of June. He has already started harvesting some fruits and every day he is capable of getting 2 kilos.
“The fruits normally drop to the ground when they are fully mature. I have already started harvesting some but I expect to harvest a lot of the fruits by end of June,” said Kinyanjui.
He says that the yellow passion does well in hot regions like Sipili as the plant grows a deep root system making it resistant to effects of low soil moisture.
Besides the yellow passion he is also growing several fruits that include; Purple passion, macadamia, pineapples, oranges, guavas, passion fruits, tree tomatoes, custard apple, mangoes, bananas, apples, pawpaw, avocado, strawberry, grapes, plums, pears, thorny melon and loquat.
He has also planted cabbages, kales, pumpkins, sun flower and cassava. He has also kept rabbits.
“Yellow passion farming is a good economic opportunity that has not yet been fully exploited. One is capable of improving his livelihood through it,” said Kinjanjui.
He has a fruit nursery where he has kept various varieties of seedlings. He has been selling seedlings between Ksh 20- Ksh 200 depending on type of fruit seedling required by a farmer. He has been grafting his own fruits before transplanting.
Kinyanjui has been a frequent visitor of Ng’arua Maarifa Centre. He has been visiting the centre to read agricultural publications and also to seek for advisory services.
During one of the visits he was introduced to Sokopepe Ltd. Since then he has been using Sokopepe to get market information and also query market prices. He now plans to use it to get market for his yellow passion.
“Sokopepe has been connecting producers with buyers and I hope that I will be able to sell my produce through Sokopepe once I harvest all my produce,” said Kinyanjui.
Kinyanjui collecting some mature passion
He says that lack of water has been a big challenge as some of the fruits have dried while the quality of fruits produced has reduced as he has been unable to get enough water to irrigate the plants. This challenge prompted him to invest in a 20 litres water pump. He now expects the problem of water to reduce.
Destruction of the plants by elephants has also been a concern to him as he has lost several plants.
“I used to get close to Ksh 500,000 per year from my orchard before elephants destroyed my fruits. I had to start afresh by planting fruits. Some have not yet matured but I expect by end of next year all the fruits will be mature,” said Kinyanjui.
To increase his earnings he is planning to add value to his produce through making juice instead of just selling the fruits."Yellow passion farming requires someone who is patient and dedicated as they take a long time to grown.Fruits like mangoes and avocadoes take more than two years to mature," said Kinyanjui.

Yellow passion farming requires someone who is patient and dedicated as they take a long time to grow.Fruits like mangoes and avocadoes take more than two years to mature," said Kinyanjui.
Post a Comment