Tropical Plantation on Santo plans to export 160,000 kilograms of passion fruit juice grown locally atop the plains of Beleru.
The revelation comes as some 40,000 passion fruit plants are already bearing fruits 10 months into the project.
Passion fruit is a tropical fruit and is found in countries such as Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Columbia. Passion fruit juice is sold to juice manufacturers and other processors as single strength aseptic juice (14-16 brix) or frozen concentrate (50 brix). Brazil is world´s largest producer and consumer of both fresh and processed passion fruit, Brazil alone accounts for over 50% of the total world production.
A recent visit to the Beleru farm by the Director General for the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Forestry Fisheries and Biosecurity Moses Amos exposes another level of farming in Vanuatu, which complements the ministry’s “Think Big, Increase and Multiply” initiative.
According to the owner of Tropical Plantation Robert Osborne, the investment on passion fruit is due to the high demand for passion fruit juice/puree in international markets including the US and Europe. Osborne says since growing ten months ago, it’s fair to say that it is surprising that fruiting came eight months earlier than expected, which goes to show the fertility of the land, the technical husbandry management of the crop and its organic state.
Tropical Plantation currently invested approximately 40,000 plants and counting over a 20ha property. The company plans to intercrop pineapple and Vietnam banana in between the 2x2m spaces between the rows of passion fruit plants.
“Other potential crops to process and extract its juice includes pineapples and bananas, and the use of bees to pollinate these crops will give rise to the production of honey on the side,” Osborne said.
He said once the fruits are harvested, they will be transferred to its new processing facility at the Mango Station, where fruits extract will be processed, frozen, and prepped to be marketed.
According to DG Amos, this project is very impressive given that it’s a first of a kind where a vast hectare of passion fruit plants are grown in Vanuatu just like any large scale commercial orchard overseas.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Forestry will work closely with the passion fruit project to assist where possible to realize this potential investment under the Fruits & Vegetable Strategy.
“This farm has the potential to deliver drink products made in Vanuatu. And it will support the returned workers from RSE and SWP who under the agriculture reintegration framework 2021 – 2025, can continue to practice large-farms skills in properties such as that of Tropical Plantation,” said Antoine Ravo, Director for Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Tropical Plantation leased the VNPF property at Beleru to establish the passion fruit farm.
According to Global News Wire, a market research on Passion Fruit Concentrate Forecast shows that the global passion fruit concentrate market was valued at US$ 464. 57 million in 2019 and is projected to reach US$ 668. 83 million by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4. 7% from 2020 to 2027.
Source: Vanuatu Daily Post