Who Grows Sweet Potatoes?
According to figures released by CIP, more than 148.77 million short tons (135 million metric tons) of sweet potatoes are grown worldwide. China is by far the largest producer with about 87 percent of the crop, nearly half of which is fed to animals. The rest of Asia accounts for 6 percent, Africa 5 percent, Latin America 1.5 percent, and the United States 0.45 percent. In most developing countries, where the sweet potato is part of the staple diet, the white-or cream-fleshed forms with a bland taste are usually grown. These potatoes have a high dry matter content, which means they are a good energy source, which is vital for a staple food. In developed countries, where the sweet potato is used more as a vegetable or for sweet dishes, the red-or orange-fleshed types are preferred for their moist flesh and sweet flavor. The U.S. sweet potato crop was worth $214,980,000 in 1999, and just under a third of the crop was grown in North Carolina. Louisiana, Mississippi, and California also gr