Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Australian Sweet Potato Growers Inc represent the biosecurity interests of sweet potato producers and the industry. They are members of Plant Health Australia. Their responsibilities include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives.

Industry overview

In 2014–15, sweet potato production was valued at $87 million (LVP). Sweet potatoes are available all year round in Australia with total production of around 100,000 tonnes. There are around 90 commercial producers with farm sizes ranging from 10 to 200 hectares, with most in the 15–80 hectare range.

Queensland is the biggest producer with over 87 per cent of production, centred mainly in Bundaberg. The second major producing area is around Cudgen in northern NSW. Sweet potatoes are also grown in Mareeba, Atherton and Rockhampton (Queensland), Murwillumbah (NSW), Perth, Carnarvon and Kununurra (WA).

Australians grow four types of sweet potatoes, categorised by skin and flesh colour. The gold variety (rose-gold skin, gold flesh) dominates the Australian sweet potato industry with over 90 per cent of production. Red category (red skin, white flesh) makes up around eight per cent, with purple (white skin, purple flesh) and white category (white skin, white flesh) making up the remainder. The majority of sweet potato production is consumed domestically with less than one percent exported.

Commercial growers purchase pathogen-tested planting material every year, which has almost doubled marketable yield per hectare.

Annual value of sweet potato production 2011–15 (LVP)

Distribution of sweet potato production by state and territory 2014–15 (based on LVP)

The high priority pests of sweet potato have yet to be determined. They are usually identified during the development of an industry biosecurity plan, which the Australian Sweet Potatoes Growers Inc. is in the process of doing.