Even though there are immense possibilities for cultivation of passion fruit in Kerala, farmers here seems to have not yet found its real potential.
In an effort to popularise the cultivation of the fruit, a private company in Kozhikode has come out with a plan, which offers a buy-back scheme of fruits for interested farmers after distributing them hybrid variety of the fruit saplings.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday P.K. Gireesh, chairman of the newly registered company based in Kozhikode, which is planning to produce value-added products from the fruit besides promoting the farming here, said his firm had already approached the Agricultural Department with the idea to which the Agriculture Minister had responded “very positively”.
As per the scheme, the firm would provide adequate number of the fruit saplings to registered farmers, from whom it would buy back the fruits once they were ready for the market price.
“For each 10 kg of fruits, the price of a sapling will be reimbursed,” said Mr. Gireesh, who maintained that the company would need at least 1,000 kg of fruit daily to start the production unit.
Though the fruit was in high demand world over, no one was farming it on a commercial basis in Kerala due to lack of awareness.
“This is despite our climate being most suitable for it,” he said. Farming passion fruit “even in five cents of land” would fetch Rs.20,000 on an average annually for a farmer, said Mr. Gireesh, who said the farming only required minimum labour and low maintenance. “Farming passion fruit is two times profitable in comparison to plantain cultivation, considering its labour,” he said.
Claimed to be of “high medicinal value,” the pulp of the fruit according to Mr. Gireesh was used for a host of value-added products world wide. “Considering its immensely increasing demand, even the State government has now started farming the fruit at Nelliyampathy in Palakkad district,” he said.
The firm, according to Mr. Gireesh, would buy back only the fruits from those farmers, who had purchased saplings from them as a measure to maintain the quality of the fruits.
“We have already sold over 20,000 saplings,” said Mr. Gireesh. , For details, contact Ph: 9388931193.