Select Markets for Taro, Sweet Potato and Yam

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This report presents information gained prior to and during visits to Japan and the USA in search of potential export markets for three root crops. Parallel research is also underway on the choice of suitable sites and seasons for production, of suitable varieties, and postharvest practices, with some support being provided to the establishment of an entity responsible for coordination of production, export and marketing of the three commodities. Besides providing information on nomenclature of the species, this report also presents information on the domestic production and marketing scene.

In essence it is concluded that export opportunities are greater into Japan than the USA and that, from the export market price perspective, the yam type called yamato-imo, and more specifically the tanba-imo type, has greater potential than taro, and taro has far greater potential than sweet potato. Based on volume, however, the greatest export opportunity is for taro into Japan, followed by yamato-imo yams, particularly tanba-imo type, into Japan, then taro into USA and then lower potential for sweet potato into both Japan and USA. From a practical production perspective in Australia, however, more producers have experience growing sweet potato, fewer with taro and next to none with yams.

The report is organised by commodity, starting with sweet potato, followed by taro and ending in yam.

Grant Vinning
Eric Coleman
Kaye Crippen
Waisiki Gonemaituba
John Oakeshott
Chris Oates
Daniel White
Joann Young
RIRDC Australia