Venturing into Passion Fruit farming /working from home during Covid-19.

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What has Covid-19 pandemic taught you?

Well , on one informal staff chat , a colleague asked what I do for fun, now that everyone works from home. That was not an easy question to crack. You see, when all this happened, I sought to stay at my rural home, atleast where I would be safe ,enjoy milk and honey as we wait for the predicament to pass.

On the other hand , I was excited that it would be an opportunity to work out and probably learn some other techniques. The word fun was somehow puzzling, not because I lacked something to do for fun, but because it was a busy season , graced with heavy rains. This would only mean to sharpen our hoes and machetes and prepare for the planting season. For this part of the world, farming is one of the major economic activity and you just don’t take planting season for granted. This period has taught me the importance of food security and the need to have them in plenty, enough to feed the nation (pun intended).

Growing food is such an interesting venture, which I would have never known , back when I was a teenager. Going to the shamba used to seem like a punishment , but right now it makes sense! I think the realization comes with age!

Oh well , this period has made me to enjoy passion fruit farming , goat rearing and gardening, just to mention a few.

Stepping to the shamba in style

Passion Fruit Farming

For some years now , farmers in some parts of the northrift area have sought to venture into passion fruit farming , minting great fortunes from the tropical fruit. However , due to the Pandemic , many farmers have been affected due to the drop in the retail price of the fruit.

On good days , a Kilogramme of passion fruits ranges from ksh 65-80-100 in some places . On average days, it ranges from Ksh 50-65 per Kilogramme , while on lower scale , as it has been witnessed by Covid-19, it retails at Ksh 30- 40 per Kilogramme , or even below that.

Growing passion fruit vines takes 4-6 months, depending on the region and availability of water/rain and correct temperatures.

Passion fruit seedlings costs between Ksh 5- 10 for local breed, but for grafted seedlings, it costs more , depending with the type.

While I will not go to the nitty gritties of how it is grown, some notable challenges includes ;

  • Destruction of flowers by birds. This is a major challenge , since birds can heavily destroy flowers, which you may end up with no fruit. To keep the birds away, some traditional methods such as using scare crows can be used , or manually/physically chasing the birds.
  • Sagging of supporting poles/wires. Heavy vines usually results to sagging of wires and poles used to support. You therefore need regular check up and also use strong poles.
  • Regular weeding and spraying to prevent blight and other diseases.
  • The buying price is determined by middle men/ brokers.
Heavy passion fruit vines

Passion fruits are among the top products exported from Kenya. Tapping into the potential of the fruit, farmers from the northrift region can produce tonnes of passion fruits and benefit more from it. The good thing with passion fruit farming , is that you can harvest once or twice a week, depending with the size of land. This surpasses maize farming , which the prices have been relatively low for the past few years.

In the coming blog, I will share some tips (if any) of Goat farming.

Yours truly 

 

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A proactive Communication professional , with passion in using the new media to highlight the good, the bad as well as the ugly in the society. I love working with diverse groups of people on our day to day life. One of my interest areas includes SDG 5, Gender Equality and SDG13 ,Climate Action. Through this blog, I hope to highlight the gaps in the two pertinent issues. I graduated from Multimedia University with a degree in Bachelor of Applied Communication , Corporate Communication option. I have had vast experience in PR industry as well as NGO sector. I am usually smiling, you should check me out on my social media platforms!

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