Sweet potato is a root crop favouring subtropical and tropical climes. White, orange and purple-fleshed cultivars are available. Carotenoids and anthocyanins cause pigmentation in orange and purple-coloured cultivars. The flavour and shelf-life of sweet potatoes are influenced by starch and sugar concentrations in the flesh. The optimum time to harvest sweet potato is when the roots have reached a desirable size, with smooth and firm skin. Irrigation is stopped a fortnight before harvest to allow the crop to dry.

Due to the sensitivity of the skin to mechanical injury, sweet potato needs to go through the curing process. This involves holding the roots at 25-32°C (77-90°F) under high relative humidity for up to a week.


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