Agronomic management of yellow passion fruit among farmers in Mbeere Sub-County, Kenya
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Yellow passion fruit (Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa) is emerging as an important high value horticultural crop in Kenya since its introduction five years ago. The fruit is gaining wide adoption in Mbeere Sub County due to its apparent adaptation to the hot arid conditions and tolerance to Fusarium wilt disease. However, the current production levels of the fruit are low due to poor water and nutrient management, erratic rainfall and poor agronomic practices. A study was conducted to assess the agronomic practices and main constraints among the farmers in Mbeere Sub County. A stratified random sampling procedure was used to collect data from 63 households from a total population of 170,950. Data was collected on household demographics, farm size, farming systems, planting materials, fertilizer use and irrigation types. This was carried out through personal interviews with members in each household responsible for management of passion fruit orchards using structured and semistructured questionnaires. The results indicate that the majority of the farmers (65%) grow yellow passion as an intercrop with other food crops. Nevertheless, passion contributes to <10% of the proportion of the farm, though this proportion is expected to increase with expansion in production. Major findings indicate that the main source of planting materials were seedlings from KARLO (44%), use of Yaramillar (44%) as the preferred planting fertilizers and irrigation of crops three times per week (49%). In conclusion, yellow passion is a fruit with potential for increased adoption but more detailed studies are needed to clearly identify and understand water and nutrient management.