The peak season for passion fruit from Kenyan cultivation is approaching. In mid-September, the supply from the East African country will pick up speed, says Stella Rasmussen, managing director of the company of the same name. She is an expert in the field of Kenyan fruits and vegetables. "The most important sales markets for Kenyan passion fruit are the Middle East, the Netherlands and Great Britain."
Currently, the marketing of Kenyan fresh products is rather quiet. "Traditionally, July and August are rather quiet sales months for us, because at this time of the year, local produce is fully available and many Europeans are still on vacation. Immediately afterwards -in late August / early September- the demand will rapidly increase. This applies not only to passion fruit, but also to our legumes," says Mrs Rasmussen. A somewhat lower demand compared to previous years is expected, due to COVID-19, among other things.
The cultivation capacity for passion fruit in Kenya is currently being expanded at a rapid pace.
Growing acceptance in the European market
The Kenyan passion fruits are available 12 months of the year, although there can be some bottlenecks. In recent years, the product has developed from an absolute marginal phenomenon to a growth area. "We are noticing a growing acceptance on the European market. The Europeans needed a while to get used to the fruit, simply because the Kenyan varieties and the accustomed batches from South America are visually incomparable. Nevertheless, the Kenyan ones are just as sweet in taste."
Kenyan passion fruits for the European market. Prices vary according to packaging size, sales market and availability.
So far, the passion fruits have been well received mainly by Moroccan and Dutch specialist wholesalers. The German market, on the other hand, remains rather reserved. "However, I am convinced that our passion fruit are also particularly suitable for the German fresh produce markets."
'Air freight situation is gradually improving'
The passion fruits from Kenyan production are flown to Europe by plane. Due to the corona pandemic, air freight capacity was rapidly reduced from March onwards. "Fortunately, we are seeing a gradual improvement in the air freight situation. We therefore hope that capacity will soon be back at the accustomed level."
Stella Rasmussen and her daughter at this year's Berlin Fruit Logistica
All in all, the young company, founded in 2018, has so far weathered the crisis well. "Some Kenyan export companies have had to file for insolvency because of Corona. We have been able to almost maintain our company as well as our staff. We are now hoping for a further normalization of the market."