North Carolina, the biggest producer of sweet potatoes in the US, is ramping up production to meet strong demand on the domestic and international market. The North Carolina Sweet Potato Marketing Cooperative says consumer demand in the US has risen by 40 per cent since 2008 with exports increasing exponentially during the same period.
“North Carolina’s growers and shippers have invested heavily in producing and marketing a quality product not just seasonally but every day throughout the year,” said NCSPMC president Jose Calderon. “When the sales push of the state’s shippers is combined with the pull created by the diverse marketing efforts of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission in retail, foodservice and processing both at home and abroad, the effect is ever-increasing demand.”
With the exception of 2013 when weather related issues resulted in a drop in planted acreage, production has risen steadily in recent years. “Returning to normal quantities in 2014 has resulted in a 41 per cent increase in shipments thus far and means more consistent pricing throughout the year,” said Thomas Chancy, secretary of the NCSPMC. “The feast or famine effect of erratic supplies will dissipate.”