Production potential

The success of any export initiative of sweet potatoes will depend on the positive response to investment (financial security) from financial institutions and the efficient management of the other business systems: corporate governance (laying a sound foundation for operating rules through a trust), marketing (product promotion to generate revenue), operations (resilience, adoption of technology, and growth) and people development (sustainability).

Key takeaways

  • Most farms currently operate under the traditional rather than sustainable farming model (95% vs. 5% in Saint Kitts & Nevis, 75% vs. 25% in Antigua & Barbuda, and 100% vs. 0% in Saint Vincent & the Grenadines).
  • Investment in technology is required to enhance sustainability, increase productivity and ultimately boost profits.
  • Soil varies in each country. Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados have sandy loam soil which is rich in nutrients. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has volcanic soil, while Jamaica has mixed soil.
  • Production in the region is dominated by the Dominican Republic (46%) and Jamaica (40%).
  • Countries such as Jamaica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have immediate plans to increase production, as demand in the EU increases.

Sweet potato production in the CARIFORUM countries

Data 2014 - FAO Stat

Country

Tons

Antigua and Barbuda 272
Bahamas 1749
Barbados 1232
Dominica 2219
Dominican Republic 44817
Grenada 96
Jamaica 39412
Saint Kitts and Nevis 139
Saint Lucia 718
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 3120
Trinidad and Tobago 1909
Belize 66
Guyana 2337
Suriname 499
Haiti 510000

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Sweet potato production growth for the region

Depending on climate conditions, farmers can produce two crop cycles per year. In the tropics, including the CARIFORUM region, sweet potatoes can be grown perennially, while in temperate regions it is only grown as an annual crop. This creates an opportunity for specific CARIFORUM countries to trade competitively with their traditional trading partners for most of the year.

 

Yield per acre of sweet potato for selected countries

Yields vary considerably between countries as well as farmers in each country. The data suggests that Antigua and Barbuda is achieving yields two to four times of those of the other countries listed. Antigua and Barbuda is a coral island state, like Barbados, and the soil consists of sandy loams, which are high in nutrients and offer good drainage. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has heavier soils of volcanic origin. Jamaica, a much bigger island, has a wide profile of soils.

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CTA FAST GUIDE cover

Download your Investment Guide here

The Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (FAST) has partnered with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to develop an investment guide for the sweet-potato sector in the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) region for financial institutions (FIs), with financial support from the Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme (APP).

 

Contact CTA

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Fax: +1-514-759-6603
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