Everywhere in the world, sweet potatoes have gained ground

Published on Saturday 14 December 2019 09:34
Everywhere in the world, sweet potatoes have gained ground

Last year in Belgium, sweet potatoes from the United States and Honduras were being sold and bought at high prices. However, the imports coming from Spain and Egypt have since rendered the overabundant offer. Let us note that the quality of sweet potatoes from the United States is far superior to that of its Egyptian or Spanish counterparts.

In France, the market has preferred the ones coming from Spain and Egypt, as they cost less than the sweet potatoes coming from the United States. The Iberian product is also fresher as it is harvested daily and is exported immediately afterwards. In the United States however, the sweet potatoes are stocked for multiple days before they are shipped out. The demand for this exotic vegetable should continue to grow. 

In the Netherlands, it has been difficult to find them for a reasonable price up till now. The Dutch have welcomed these vegetable-fruits from Egypt and Spain at a lower price than those imported from their colleagues in the United States. Here, the enthusiasm for sweet potatoes is constantly progressing, and the rising demand is responding positively to the large supply. 

In Germany, foreign produce traditionally supplies the winter markets. To stand out is maybe the solution. The Covington, Beauregard, and Evangeline varieties are a great success here. Let’s note that in Switzerland, in the same climate, a marketing co-op of sweet potatoes emerged by the name of Batati. It directly supplies the local businesses. 

In Spain, prices have remained stable for the majority of the season. However, the volume of the harvest has been superior than last year’s which was affected by heavy rainfalls. Although the internal market is still weak, no one doubts that it will follow the trend of neighboring Portugal, where the average consumption of sweet potatoes is five times higher than Spain’s. 

In Italy, like almost everywhere else in Europe, the demand is growing. The country suffered from bad weather conditions last year. The region of Venice was affected the most by the bad weather. In Caraglio and Bernezzo, in the Piemont, the Batata Buona harvest is promising. There are a dozen of growers who are devoted to this special variety which should make quite the “buzz”.

In Egypt, in the beginning of the season, the prices rose like never before. This rise in price originated due to the weak harvests in the United States and Europe. The price of sweet potatoes was in fact four times higher than usual. After two months, which happened to coincide with the beginning of the season in these producing countries, the prices dropped back to normal. 

In China, ever since the sweet potato craze has reached many growers and suppliers, some of them have turned to exporting. Especially to Europe and Canada, which represent promising markets for China, since the product is well received and the demand is always high. In the Chinese internal market, sweet potatoes are successful in the north. Whereas in the south, consumers are still trying to acquire a taste for them.

In the United States, last season’s prices were higher and more stable than the previous years due to prematurely depleted stock of sweet potatoes, and due to the slightly lacking volume of their last harvest. Although these findings varied from one region to another. In California, the rain caused a production decline of 15 percent and also caused many problems with product quality.

In Australia, these vegetables are grown year round only in Queensland. Like the countries in the Northern Hemisphere, the popularity of the sweet potato continues to gain ground with consumers in Australia. Last year Australia produced 100,000 tons of sweet potatoes destined for the internal market. Only small volumes were exported to the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

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