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Tuesday August 16th, 2022 7:07AM

Mississippi State survey aims to increase passionfruit farms

By The Associated Press

RAYMOND, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi State University Extension Service researcher is hoping to help expand the niche for passionfruit growers.

Demand is growing for the sweet, low-calorie tropical fruit, said Eric Stafnne, a fruit and nut specialist Eric Stafne at the extension service.

Most U.S. production is in Florida, Hawaii, California, and Puerto Rico, he said, but some is grown in Louisiana, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and North Carolina.

“Passion fruit is a niche crop with potential for expansion in climate-change-affected regions of the country,” he said in a news release Friday, noting that south Mississippi has potential.

He has posted an online survey at https://msudafvm.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5oFY0ThcIoepwXQ for current growers and farmers interested in growing passionfruit.

Questions range from acreage planted in or available for passionfruit vines to the types of trellises used, to obstacles to getting the best production.

The university is among organizers of a two-day conference in mid-June, titled Growing the U.S. Passionfruit Industry. Saturday is the deadline to register for the conference in Homestead, Florida, but the survey will be open through June 30.

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