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2016, a tough year for Taiwanese sweet potato growers

According to Ignasio Chang of the She Sun Dea Trading Company, the first half of the 2015 sweet potato season in Taiwan was marked by oversupply, which caused market prices to fall. Suppliers turned to exploring convenience channels to sell baked sweet potatoes in stores, but with this strategy, the market price barely changed. However, the excessive production in the first half of the year led to shortages in the second half, and although consumers have been willing to pay more, there were no more raw sweet potatoes in traditional market and convenience stores.”

Furthermore, in the second half of 2015 a typhoon hit Taiwan, causing considerable damage. “For this reason, we can predict that the quality and volume of the sweet potato production in the first half of 2016 will be poor, and consequently, the market price will increase. Overall, the situation for Taiwanese growers in 2016 is bound to be tough,” explains Chang.

All in all, sweet potatoes have become a really popular crop in Asia; a phenomenon which Chang assures can be explained by several reasons. “Firstly, sweet potatoes are a very common crop in Asia. In recent times, Japanese companies have been participating in international food contests (ex. Monde selection) and won some accolades and this may indirectly raise the interest from the European market. Secondly, economic promotions are improving the connection between Europe and Asia. Thirdly, and maybe the most important reason, there is more and more scientific research revealing that sweet potatoes are an ideal part of a healthy diet, because they contain lots of beneficial components, such as fibre, vitamins, non-absorbable starch and anthocyanin, and in highly developed countries, healthy foods are always very popular.”

While Europe and Taiwan still need to overcome the issue of long distances by improving storage and packaging techniques for fresh sweet potatoes, there is already potential in the export of processed foods. “Now, Taiwan doesn’t have a proper agricultural quarantine agreement with Europe, and at the moment Europe mainly imports sweet potatoes from Central and South America, so for now an increase in the product’s wouldn’t directly impact the Taiwanese market. In any case, we should keep an eye on this phenomenon, because Taiwanese consumers like to imitate European eating habits, so if sweet potatoes really become a very popular food in Europe, it may increase the domestic demand in Taiwan,” ended Chang.

For more information:
Ignacio Chang
She Sun Dae Trading Co., Ltd.
Phone: +886 7 7871215
Mobile: +886-7-7871215


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