By George Munene
Lamech Kabuti a passion fruit farmer and seed propagator in Eldoret has self-selected and introduced a high-yielding passion fruit variety, Mkulima Wonder, which yields three times more than available traditional passion fruits.
“With Mkulima Wonder I harvest up to 50 tonnes from an acre piece of land compared to the 20-25 tonnes I would get from conventional passion fruit cultivars,” he says.
Lamech who has been growing passion fruits for five years came across the variety that bears fruits in a cluster of three, compared to the usual passion fruits that give just one fruit, while on a farm visit in Nyahuru in 2017.
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He bought some of the seedlings to experiment on the variety’s suitability to his farms in Eldoret and Kenol, Muranga county. Having begun Wonder’s commercial production in 2020, and now readying to export his three-acre harvest to Turkey, he forecasts the returns to be far more than he ever got from any passion fruit variety he had grown before.
Kabuti has sold Wonder’s seedlings to passion fruit farmers across the country and constantly gets feedback to track its growth habit and production.
“Unlike other passion fruits which need to be grown at 1500 meters above sea level, Mkulima Wonder thrives from a sea level of over 1000 meters. It does poorly in hot regions, preferring colder areas which most available varieties don’t do well in,” he explains.
From his experience, he has found it to be tolerant to fusarium wilt, a bane for most farmers that can cause total yield losses after the first harvest.
“It also has the benefit of having a great keeping ability; 20 to 30 days compared to conventional passion fruits which begin shrinking 10 days post-harvest—a critical consideration for farmers engaged in the crop’s export. When harvested just before it ripens it still carries a sweet taste compared to other passion fruits,” says Kabuti.
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He sells Mkulima Wonder’s seedlings at Sh80 each and is working with KALRO on being licensed as an authorised seed merchant, this he hopes to archive late this year.
Lamech Kabuti (Mkulima Mdogo seedlings): 0711844870