TRANG - Rubber farmers wilting under the price slump are being encouraged to set aside part of their land to grow passion fruit, as the climbing vine is easy to grow and demand for the fruit is high.
Chana Pornsiriwong, 50, a community developer in tambon Nam Phud in Muang district of this southern province, said a passion fruit vine took only 6-8 months to begin fruiting and required less attention.
Passion fruit is highly nutritious, contains ample vitamins and there is a good market for the fruit, said Mr Chana, who recently converted his 7-rai plantation into an integrated farm, with half a rai (800 square metres) set aside and planted in 200 passion fruit vines, both the yellow and purple varieties.
He wanted his passion fruit orchard to be an example for rubber farmers in need of extra money to supplement falling family income from rubber.
Passion fruit was a good cash crop and he expected to earn at least 3,000 baht a month, said Mr Chana.
The community developer began growing passion fruit last year and his small orchard generated at least 10 kg of passion fruit a day, with prices at 50-60 baht a kilo, he said.
He is expanding the area planted to passion fruit. His chemical-free orchard has become a demonstration farm for rubber growers in tambon Nam Phud.
Chana Pornsiriwong, 50, (left) a community developer in tambon Nam Phud, Trang, shows fresh passion fruit from his demonstration farm. (Photo by Methee Muangkaew)