Danish govt to support Kenyan passion fruit farmers
A Danish government-backed Micro Enterprise Support Programme Trust (MESPT) is expected to help passion fruit farmers boost production in the Kenyan Coastal region, website Businessdailyafrica.com reported.
MESPT value chain finance officer Patrick Ekwan told the website more than 3,000 farmers have been registered in the production program, planting around a quarter of an acre each of passion fruit seedlings.
Ekwan says that the initiative, funded by MESPT and Equity Bank, will help farmers increase their acreage under cultivation by having a more organized market.
"We have already clustered farmers into groups and created 20 collection stations in the region," he was quoted as saying.
"Before, it was extremely difficult to have statistics on the sub-sector due to the poor farming techniques."
Frigoken Ltd subsidiary Allfruit EPZ has built a fruit processing plant in the area with the capacity to handle 3,000 metric tons (MT) of fruit bound for export markets, the story reported.
A 2010 survey of the Kwale and Msambweni districts found more than half the passion fruit trees under cultivation had been planted within a year, which showed how much interest had been shown in the crop.
The Agricultural Sector Programme Support (ASPS) and Agriculture Business Development (ABD) of Denmark study found there were 3,800 passion fruit farmers in Kwale with 707,114 stems planted across 425ha.
"Given that middlemen in most cases are exploitative, the margin distribution is skewed to the benefit of traders which could jeopardise sustainable passion fruit farming," the study said.