The domestic-grown sweet potatoes on the shelves of retail chains should cost 2 times more expensive than simple potatoes, but not 80 or 100 UAH/kg. This opinion was expressed in a blog on iAgro by Viktor Rudenko, the agronomist of the “Dneprovskaya Zhemchuzhina” farm.
The specialist explains: if at a yield of 50-60 t / ha, the cost of irrigated potatoes reaches 2 UAH, then sweet potatoes cost 4-5 UAH. That is, in retail, it should be sold at UAH 10-12/kg, and then it will be available to the Ukrainian consumer.
For now, this vegetable is sold only in cities with a population of one million people, because no one buys it at the current price. Moreover, sweet potato is a useful and nutritious product. It can be cooked quickly and people, suffering from diabetes can eat it without restrictions.
According to the agronomist, the cultivation of sweet potato is somewhat more difficult than of simple potatoes. The plant is perennial, but in Ukraine, it is planted every year anew, the tropical root crop cannot stand low temperatures. First, sweet potatoes are grown from seedlings, in April it is transplanted under a plastic wrap and kept there until mid-May. Although only short-ripening varieties are used in Ukraine, they harvest it only in October.
Rudenko also says that sweet potato practically does not need protection from pests or diseases. The plant has a strong top and is itself resistant to weeds. The Colorado potato beetle does not touch it, other pests appear in very small quantities.
Commercial sweet tuber, in contrast to simple potatoes, starts from 400 grams and is collected only by hand.
Now the “Dneprovskaya zhemchuzhina” has 8.5 hectares of sweet potatoes. “In a few years, we must reach a higher yield (50-70 tons/ha) in order to reduce production costs, and then we will try to compete with our products in the UK,” says the agronomist.
The input price of sweet potato in the UK is 0.5 pounds sterling (about 18 UAH).