Survey, conference aims to help US passion fruit industry

Raymond, Miss. (WJTV) – America’s passion fruit industry is small, but a team of researchers wants to help it grow with a grant to Mississippi State University (MSU).

Eric Stafne, a fruit and nut specialist with MSU’s extension service, is leading a research project to gather feedback from growers, traders, consumers and buyers. The research team wants to better understand the current industry and its future direction.

Passion fruit is a niche crop with potential for expansion in parts of the country affected by climate change. Demand is growing and the crop can potentially grow well in southern Mississippi. We want to know how we can help those who want to grow, sell and buy these fruits,” Stafne said.

Passion fruit is a low calorie and nutritious tropical fruit. However, some varieties can be grown in subtropical climates. It is grown commercially in the United States in Florida, California, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

Those interested in growing and selling passion fruit are encouraged to participate in a voluntary survey and an upcoming conference. The survey results will help the team plan future research, extension training and grant applications that can help address issues related to insects, diseases, disorders, post-harvest handling and cultural practices.

Interested persons can complete the online survey here. The conference, Growing the US Passionfruit Industry, is scheduled for June 14-15 in Homestead, Florida. To register for the conference, click here.

Conference organizers want to learn about and discuss the current U.S. industry, identify key challenges, and begin developing a strategic plan to overcome the challenges facing growers, propagators, marketers, and stakeholders. Attendees can also see demonstrations at local wineries.