10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potato-Producing Countries

10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Countries

10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Countries– Based on FAO Statistical Database in 2021, there are 10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Countries.  Commonly, sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is the favorite commodity in some regions of the world. this tuberous plant has a sweet taste, and many people like the taste.

10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potato-Producing Countries- Biggest countries

Historically, sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are native to the tropical regions of the Americas. Based on taxonomy, this crop includes in Kingdom: Plantae; Order: Solanales; Family: Convolvulaceae; Genus: Ipomoea; Species: Ipomoea batatas.  Because of the similarity of Solanes order, this plant ultimately has close relation with the potatoes (S. tuberosum), eggplants (S. melongena), tomatoes (S. Lycopersicon), chili peppers (capsicum), tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum).

World’s Harvested Areas, Productions, and Productivity of Sweet Potatoes from 1970 to 2021

YearsWorld’s Harvested Areas of Sweet PotatotesWorld Production of Sweet PotatoesYield / Productivity of Sweet Potatoes
(Hectares)(Tons)(Tons/ hectare)
Source : FAOSTAT, 2023

Globally, from 1970 to 2021, the World’s harvested areas of Sweet Potatoes has decreased from time to time. In 1970, the World’s areas reached 11 million heactares and become 7.4 million hectares in 2021. Based on production, the world’s production of sweet potatoes also in the decreasing trendline. in 1970, the world’s production of sweet potatoes reached 136 million tons and has go down into 88 million tons in 2021. Menawhile, the productivity / yield are relatively in the range of 11- 15 tons per hectare.

10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potato-Producing Countries - Production Based on Continent

In 2019, the world’s production of sweet potatoes reaches 91.8 million tons with a recorded of cultivating area around 7.7 million hectares. If looking at a statistical database from Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2019, some continents became the main area of cultivating Sweet Potatoes. Asia region is still the main region of sweet potato cultivation with the production of 59 million tons in 2019. In the second place, Africa region with production reaches 27 million tons and Americas with 3.8 million tons.

Continentally, in 2021, The Asia and Africa still become the major areas production of Sweet potatoes. Asia produce 54 million tons meanhile Africa produces 29 million tons. Furthermore, Americas has minor production of sweet potatoes with output around 3.3 million tons and Oceania with output of production reached 914 thousand tons.

Production of Sweet Potatoes Based on Continent in 2021

ContinentProduction of Sweet Potatoes in 2021
Source : FAOSTAT, 2023

In terms of Country statistical data of sweet potatoes, there are 10 worlds’ biggest sweet potato producing countries. This data is obtained from the FAO Statistical Database of the United Nations (UN). Here are the 10 World’s biggest producers of sweet potatoes.

Table Rank of 10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Countries in 2021

RanksCountriesProduction of Sweet Potatoes in 2021
1China, mainland47,621,147
3United Republic of Tanzania4,991,861
9United States of America1,308,728
Source : FAOSTAT, 2023

Brief Description of 10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Countries in 2021

10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potato-Producing Countries - Brief Description

1. China, mainland        

China still becomes the World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing country in 2021. The productions of sweet potatoes in 2021 reaches 47.6 million tons. Historically, sweet potato was introduced to China under the Ming dynasty but there are dubious opinions around this issue.  If looking at the geographical aspect, the main region of sweet potato cultivation in China are in Sichuan and Shandong. Genetically, China has some cultivars/varieties of sweet potatoes. some varieties of China’s sweet potato are Shadi 601, Shadi Watermelon Red, and the Shadi Purple Guijing No. 8.

2. Malawi

Malawi is the 2nd World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Country in 2019. The productions of sweet potatoes in 2021 reaches 7.4 million tons. In this country, sweet potato is the second important tuberous crop after cassava with more than 125 thousand are of sweet potato cultivation. Nowadays, Malawi with the help of the International Potato Centre (CIP) introduces Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes – the potato plant with high yielding and rich content of Vitamin A. With this enriched sweet potato, hopefully, it can help the malnutrition problems of this country.

3. the United Republic of Tanzania  

Tanzania becomes the 3rd World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Country. In 2021, the productions of sweet potatoes in 2021 reaches 4.9 million tons. Geographically, the Lake and Eastern Zone is the main area of sweet potato cultivating besides the southern highlands and Northern zone of Tanzania.

4. Nigeria

Nigeria is the 4th World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Country in 2021. The productions of sweet potatoes in 2021 reaches 3.9 million tons. Geographically, the main area of sweet potato in this country is in several states. The states like Kaduna, Kano, Zamfara, and Sokoto in the North-west are currently leading in sweet potato production in the country. Genetically, Nigeria has released white-fleshed variety dan orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Basically, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes have a higher content of vitamin-A. In addition, this country also developed Purple-fleshed sweet potato- the sweet potatoes with high anthocyanins.

5. Angola           

Angola is the next 5th world’s biggest, sweet potatoes-Producing Country with the productions of sweet potatoes in 2021 reaches 1.7 million tons. In this country, sweet potatoes have become one of the most important crops besides maize and cassava.

10 World's Biggest Producers of Sweet Potatoes in 2021

6. Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the 6th world’s biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing countryy with the productions of sweet potatoes in 2021 reaches 1.69 million tons. Geographically, there are some regions as the main canters of sweet potato cultivation. Some of these regions are Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPRS) and Oromia.

7. Indonesia

Indonesia is the 7th World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Country with the productions of sweet potatoes in 2021 reaches 1.64 million tons. Basically, there are some regions of sweet potato production in Indonesia.  These provinces are Jambi, Sumatera Barat, Jawa timur, and Jawa Barat. Based on cultivar/ variety. There are some varieties of sweet potato in Indonesia namely Cilembu, Borobudur, Prambanan, Mendut, Kalasan, Muara Takus, Cangkuang, Sewu.

8. Rwanda

Rwanda is the 8th World’s Biggest producer of Sweet Potatoes. Statistically, In 2021, the production of sweet potatoes from Rwanda reached 1,328,750 ton. Hisotrically, cassava was introduced from Uganda in the early 18th century and are grown extensively in this country.  The sweet potato is ussually planted and harvested throughout the year. Geographically, They are cultivated by the farmers in the region of Butare, Gikongoro, Gitarama, Kigali and Lake Kivu border of Rwanda Genetically, some of the cultivars of sweet potatoes in Rwanda are  Yellow variety (Kwizekumwe, 440170), White variety (Mugande and 4160) (Rose and Vasanthakaalam, 2011).

9. United States of America       

United States of America (USA) is the 9th world’s biggest sweet potatoes-producing country with production reach 1.3 million tons. Geographically, in the United States of America (USA) there are some regions of the main area of sweet potato cultivation. These states are North Carolina, California, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Of all the states, North Carolina is the biggest production in the United States of America (USA). In addition, some of the most popular sweet potato cultivars in the USA are Beauregard, the jewel, and the garnet.

10. Uganda

Uganda is the 10th World’s Biggest Sweet Potatoes-Producing Countries. In the year 2021, the productions of sweet potatoes 2021 reach 1.26 million tons. Genetically, some of the cultivars planted in Uganda are Tanzania, Tororo 3, New kawogo, and Kakamega. Based on the geographical statistics, there are some regions in Uganda as the main centers of sweet potato cultivation. These areas are Apac, Mbale, Kabale, Gulu, Iganga, Mpigi, Luwero, Kabarole, and Arua.

Bibliography of 10 World’s Biggest Sweet Potato-Producing Countries in 2021

FAO. 2021.Production of Sweet potatoes: top 10 producers 2021. Accessed via http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QCL/visualize  on May 29, 2023.

Fresh Plaza. 2015.Sweet potato gaining back popularity in China Accessed via https://www.freshplaza.com/article/2149765/sweet-potato-gaining-back-popularity-in-china/ on September 25, 2021.

Perez Garcia M. 2018. Challenging National Narratives: On the Origins of Sweet Potato in China as Global Commodity During the Early Modern Period. In: Perez Garcia M., De Sousa L. (eds) Global History and New Polycentric Approaches. Palgrave Studies in Comparative Global History. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-4053-5_4

Fresh Plaza. 2020. The sweet potato season has officially started in south China and market demand is rising. Accessed via https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9209605/the-sweet-potato-season-has-officially-started-in-south-china-and-market-demand-is-rising/ on September 28, 2021.

CGIA. 2019. Sweet returns for sweet potato farmers in Malawi. Accessed via https://www.cgiar.org/food-security-impact/photo_stories/sweet-returns-for-sweet-potato-farmers-in-malawi/  on September 29, 2021.

Daily Trust. 2017. Best Ways to Farm Sweet Potato, By Expert. Accessed via  https://dailytrust.com/best-ways-to-farm-sweet-potato-by-expert on September 29, 2021.

CPBmedia. 2018. Tanzania is Africa’s Largest producer of Sweet Potato. 2018. Accessed via  https://www.ippmedia.com/en/news/tanzania-africa%E2%80%99s-largest-producer-sweet-potato  on September 29, 2021.

Africa-Uganda-Business-travel. How to grow SWEET POTATOES in Uganda. Accessed via  https://www.africa-uganda-business-travel-guide.com/how-to-grow-sweet-potatoes-in-uganda.html  on September 29, 2021.

B. Bashaasha, R.O.M. Mwanga, C. Ocitti p’Obwoya and P.T. Ewell.1995. Sweet potato in the Farming and Food Systems of Uganda: A Farm Survey Report. International Potato Centre (CIP) and National Agricultural Research Organization (NARD).

Allow, A.M. 2017. Factors affecting sweet potato production in crop-livestock farming systems in Ethiopia. The Norwegian University of Life Science.

Serious eats. 2019.  A Field Guide to Sweet Potato Varieties (and the Dirt on Yams). Accessed via https://www.seriouseats.com/a-field-guide-to-sweet-potato-varieties-and-the-dirt-on-yams  on September 29, 2021.

van de Fliert, Elske & Oanh, N. & Son, N. & Dang Hoa, Tran & Thanh, P. & Hung, L. & Khoang, L. & Lan, N. (1999). The Sweetpotato Production-Postharvest Use System in Vietnam: Participatory Needs and Opportunity Assessment.

Rose, I.M. and Vasanthakaalam, H., 2011. Comparison of the nutrient composition of four sweet potato varieties cultivated in Rwanda. American journal of food and nutrition, 1(1), pp.34-38.

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