About the Industry
Sweetpotatoes are available all year round in Australia with total production around 100,000 tonnes worth an estimated Gross Value of $100 million in 2019/20. With $1.54 million in levies collected.
The Australian Industry is a world leader in technology development and yield. Growers purchase virus ‘free’ roots from one Australian supplier and plant the roots in seedbeds. Cuttings are taken from the seedbed and planted by hand into fields. Judicious application of fertiliser and water through the trickle system results in yields of upwards of 4500 cartons of sweetpotatoes per ha produced.
The Sweetpotato industry is a significant regional employer providing work for between 4000 – 5000 people in a normal year.
The total number of commercial producers is estimated around 55. Farm size ranges from 10 to 240 hectares with most in the 15-80 hectare size.
Sweetpotatoes in Australia are separated into 4 categories for marketing; Gold, Red, Purple and White with the Australian Industry currently dominated by the Gold (skin and flesh) category.
Most commercial growers purchase pathogen tested planting material every year, which has almost doubled marketable yield per hectare.
Sweetpotato in Australia is purchased by consumers on average 3 times a month and consumed 7 times a month.
All fresh market sweetpotatoes sold in Australia are grown in Australia.
Queensland is the biggest producer with over 90% of the area grown centred mainly on Bundaberg. The second major producing area is around Cudgen in northern New South Wales. Sweetpotatoes are also grown at Mareeba, Atherton, Rockhampton and the Lockyer Valley (QLD), Murwillumbah (NSW), Perth, Carnarvon and Kununurra (WA).