Sweetpotato export strategy (PW20004)
What was it all about?
This project, which ran from 2021 to 2022, developed an export strategy for the sweetpotato industry to take advantage of a global expansion in demand.
To develop the Strategy, the project team gathered a range of information, including the latest trade statistics. It assessed Australia’s sweetpotato production capabilities by region, including varieties, biosecurity analysis and industry aspirations.
Australian industry data showed that 106,715 tonnes of sweetpotatoes were produced in 2020, of which 90 per cent were gold and 10 per cent red and purple varieties. Exports reached almost 2,400 tonnes in 2019/20.
The research team considered several countries when assessing export opportunities and potential returns, finding that:
- Gold sweetpotato varieties are dominant in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, while Japanese style reds and purple sweetpotatoes are more widely grown and consumed in Asia
- Europe and Middle Eastern markets have the greatest demand opportunities for Australian gold sweetpotatoes, but grower returns, particularly to Europe, are not attractive
- While Asia is close for Australian exporters, these markets favour the red and purple varieties, which have higher production costs in Australia and are not competitive against production stemming from Vietnam and supplied to other Southeast Asian markets
- China is the world’s largest producer of sweetpotatoes, with no recorded imports
- Japan and Korea are significant producers for their own markets and do not import.
The Strategy recommends that the sweetpotato industry’s peak body, Australian Sweetpotato Growers (ASPG), establish a multi-sector Export Development Working Group to drive sector export opportunities and upscale the level of trade and market information available to the industry.
The research team predicted that with a strategic commitment to developing export programs, the Australian sweetpotato sector could see exports reach 6,000 – 8,000 tonnes by 2026.
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Sweetpotato Fund