Thirty-four-year-old Eunice Jones and her husband started growing passion fruit in 2010, setting aside half an acre of their land to grow a new variety of the fruit.
They planned to sell their harvest at a market in Mombasa. But they were only able to harvest 20 bags, and had difficulties arranging to transport their fruit to the city.
By the time they got to market much of the crop was rotten.
The fruit ripens at the same time and everyone needs to sell before the fruit rots, which pushes prices down. Eunice said: “In the dry season, we can sell at 600 Kenya shillings per bag. But in the wet season when passion fruit is so plentiful, we get just 150 to 200 per bag.”
Eunice is very excited by Farm Africa’s new project, which will provide farmers with an improved variety of seedlings which produce better quality fruits with more juice and which mature at different times of the year. The project will also teach farmers like Eunice to process their higher yields into products such as jam or juice, which can be sold throughout the year and fetch higher prices than raw fruit.
Eunice told us: “I hope that we small-scale farmers will be able to lift ourselves out of poverty.”