Passion Fruit Farming Guide:
Introduction of Passion Fruit: – The passion fruit is one of the oldest fruit grown since centuries and this fruit belongs to the family of “Passifloraceae”. The passion fruit is native to Brazil and in India, it is grown in the parts of Western Ghats (Coorg, Nilgiris, Kodaikanal, Malabar, Wynad and Shevroys). This fruit is commercially cultivated in Himachal Pradesh and the eastern states of India like Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland. Due to its aroma and flavouring property, this fruit is used to produce a quality squash along with excellent nutritious juice. The passion fruit juice is used in preparation of ice creams, cakes and pies. The passion fruits are nearly round to oval shape and this tree vines are perennial, shallow rooted, woody and climbing by means of tendrils. In the hills of north eastern India, the passion fruit tree leaves are used as a vegetable and tenders leaves are used for medicinal purpose. This fruit is mainly consumed as a juice rather than fresh table fruit.
Health Benefits of Passion Fruit: – Below are the some of the health benefits of Passion Fruit.
- Passion fruit promotes intestinal health.
- Passion fruit has lot of cardiovascular benefits.
- Passion fruit helps in treating insomnia.
- Passion fruit prevents cancer.
- Passion fruit is excellent diet for weight loss.
- Passion fruit helps in reducing anxiety.
- Passion fruit is a good source of antioxidants.
- Passion fruit contains Iron which relieves anaemia.
- Passion fruit controls the blood pressure.
- Passion fruit improves the blood circulation.
- Passion fruit improves the eye health.
- Passion fruit helps in respiratory conditions & asthma.
Passion Fruit Local Names in India:- Krishna Phal (Hindi), Krishna Kamalaa pandu (Telugu), Tatputpalam (Tamil), Utkatatene phala (Marathi), Doore hannu (Kannada), Utkata phala (Gujarati).
Major Passion Fruit Production States in India:- Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.
Commercial Varieties of Passion Fruits in India:- There are many varieties of passion fruit available across the world. However, Yellow Passion fruit, Purple passion fruit and ‘Kaveri’ Hybrid fruit (Purple x Yellow) are famous varieties of commercial cultivation in India.
- Yellow Passion Fruit: This cultivar is best for lower elevations and produce less yield at higher elevations as this is sensitive to low temperature conditions. The fruit is bigger in size than purple variety, each weighing about 60 to 65 grams, round in shape with yellow spots and turns golden yellow colour when ripe. This variety has good degree of tolerance for diseases and pests.
- Purple Passion Fruit: This variety produce good yield at higher elevations. This variety fruits weigh about 35 to 50 grams and about 5 cm in diameter. They turn to deep purple colour when ripe. Average juice content in purple passion fruit is between 30 to 35 %. The purple variety is best known for its flavour & nutrient content.
- Hybrid Kaveri Passion Fruit: It is the cross of purple and yellow passion fruit developed at Indian Institute of Horticulture Research in Karnataka. This is the best high yielding variety compared to purple and yellow passion fruits. Each Kaveri fruit weighs about 90 to 110 grams. These fruits are purple in colour and the quality is almost same as purple passion fruit. This variety has high degree of tolerance for common pests and diseases.
Climate Requirement for Passion Fruit Farming:- The passion fruit grows well in tropical to subtropical humid climatic conditions up to 2100 meter altitude. It requires well distributed annual rain fall of 10 cm to 25 cm. The ideal temperature required for best yield is from 20°C to 30°C. Colder climatic conditions below 15°C limit the vegetative growth & flowering of this tree.
Soil Requirement for Passion Fruit Farming:- Passion fruit thrives best in well-drained sandy soils with pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. The soil should have enough moisture content along with rich organic matter and low in salts is best for passion fruit cultivation.
Propagation in Passion Fruit Farming:- Passion fruit trees are propagated through cuttings, seeds and by grafting root stocks. However, grafted plants and seedlings are more vigorous compared to cuttings. However, farmers prefer seed propagation as vegetative method consumes lot of time.
- Seed Propagation: Quality seeds are collected from best vines of passion fruit. In order to extract the seeds, the pulp after extraction should be allowed to ferment for 3 days. In the month of Mar-April, the seeds should be sown on well prepared nursery beds. The seedlings having about 5 to 6 leaves should be transplanted in poly bags of dimension 10 x 22 cm. Then, it should be filled with the soil mixture, compost and sand in the ratio of 2:1:1.These seedlings will be ready in 3 months for transplanting in the main field.
- Vegetative Propagation: About 30 cm size of semi hardwood cuttings with at least 3 nodes is preferred. For root initiation, these cuttings should be placed in sand beds or pots and needs to be transferred to poly bags for better root development. The cuttings with roots will be ready in 3 months for transplanting in to the main field.
Land Preparation in Passion Fruit Farming:- Dig the pits size of 45 x 45 x 45 cm at a spacing of 3 meter x 2 meter on hilly slopes and plains. These pits should be filled with a mixture of 3 parts of top soil & 1 part of compost. The best planting time is after onset of monsoon. Avoid the lands which experience heavy winds.
Spacing and Planting in Passion Fruit Farming:- The spacing in the passion fruit plantation depends on the variety of the seed and training system followed. Generally, in bower system, the preferred spacing is 3 meter x 3 meter which will accommodate about 1100 plants for 1 hectare land. In Kniffin system, the recommended spacing is 2 meter x 3 meter which will accommodate about 1660 plants per 1 hectare land.
Intercropping in Passion Fruit Farming:- During the first year of plantation, farmers can grow any vegetable crops by using the inter spaces of the plantation for some extra revenue. Thereafter any shade loving crops like turmeric and ginger can be grown till the pre- fruit bearing stage.
Irrigation in Passion Fruit Farming:- Irrigation should be provided after transplanting the seedlings from nursery. To keep moisture level constant, use mulch which also help in controlling the growth of the weeds. Irrigation needs to be on needs base, especially dry hot summer months or drought conditions require to water the plants. In rainy season, no need of irrigation. In case of heavy rainfall or flooding, make sure to drain out the water from the soil as these trees are sensitive to water stagnation.
Weed Control in Passion Fruit Farming:- Weed control can be carried out my hand and weedicides. Mulching also prevents the weed growth.
Training in Passion Fruit Farming:- The passion fruit vines should be trained to a single un-branched shoot from the base up to the trellis height. Thereafter, 2 vigorous shoots should be allowed to grow on the trellis in the opposite directions. The most economical training method would be the kniffin system in which 2.5 m long pillars are erected 3 meter apart & 4 lines of 9 to 10 gauge wire is allowed to run across.
Systematic pruning should be followed in passion fruit cultivation as it encourages the new growth of the vine which results in high yields of fruits. Pruning should be done after harvesting by cutting the laterals back to 4 to 5 buds.
Manures and Fertilizers in Passion Fruit Farming:- For best yield of passion fruit, soil should be supplemented with organic manure like well rotten farm yard manure (FMY) and Vermicompost, bio plus (which is prepared from organic waste).
- 1st year of plantation – Apply 10 kg of FMY/vine.
- 2nd year onwards – Apply 15 kg of FMY/vine.
Mixture of Vermicompost and farm yard manure in the ratio of 3:1 and oil cake will give the best result.
Pests and Diseases in Passion Fruit Farming:- The fruit fly and mites are the common pests in passion fruit farming. Appropriate chemical measures will prevent the pests. Brown spot and Root Rot, Wilt or Collar rot are the main diseases in passion fruit plantation. The effected branches or leaves should be pruned and destroyed. Drenching with 1 % Bordeaux mixture will check the root rot disease. There is no control for Wilt or Collar rot except having tolerant variety.
Harvesting in Passion Fruit Farming:- The passion fruit vines start fruiting after 10 months of planting. Fruit bearing reaches optimum by 15 to 18 months. Generally, these tree fruiting happens from Aug to Dec and Mar to May. The passion fruits take 80 to 90 days to mature. While harvesting the fruits, slight purple coloured fruits along with a small portion of stem should be picked. To prevent the weight loss and appearance, they should be marketed very quickly.
Yield of Passion Fruit:- Fruit yield depends on variety, soil type and whether conditions. However with good farm management practices, an average yield of 10 tonnes /ha can be obtained in case of purple passion fruit. In hybrid Kaveri variety, the yield would be high and about 18 to 20 tonnes/ha. Generally, 8 to 9 kg or 200 to 250 passion fruits per vine can be expected every year.
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