Originally domesticated in Latin America more than 5,000 years ago, sweet potatoes currently grow in more developing countries than any other root crop, with up to a million tonnes produced in the Caribbean per year (FAOSTAT, 2016).
Identified as the fifth most important food crop in the developing world, and one of the main crops identified for Caribbean food security, sweet potatoes produce more biomass and nutrients per hectare than any other food crop.
This super food has immense potential to fuel Caribbean development, not only in the alleviation of food insecurity and as a nutrition crop but also from the perspective of climate adaptation and mitigation, and as a driver of economic development.
Sweet potatoes are able to grow in a variety of settings and conditions. Small and subsistence farmers have the ability to produce the crop on small parcels of marginal or inferior land without pricey inputs such as labour, fertilizers and irrigation— allowing rural communities to take charge of their own production and food security.
The largest producers in the region are currently Jamaica (43,188 tonnes in 2019), Haiti (42,002 tonnes in 2019), St Vincent and the Grenadines (2,500 tonnes in 2019), Dominica (2,385 tonnes in 2019) and Barbados (2,093 tonnes in 2019). (FAOSTAT)
Source Daphne Ewing-Chow Forbes Magazine