Farmer welcomes first harvest of sweet potatoes in western Turkey

A local farmer named Şerafettin Baba is harvesting his first crop of colorful sweet potatoes in Torbalı district, western Izmir province, from a local business he hopes will turn into a lucrative business.

An expensive imported treat, Turkish farmers like Baba across the country are now growing their own sweet potato crops which they hope will help make the vegetable healthy – which is often sold for 40 TL ($ 4) per kilogram – more affordable for local buyers.

The 29-year-old farmer says he is pleasantly surprised by the yield of his crop planted in his 15 decare field, so far trying his luck with two types, red and purple.

Åžerafettin Baba holds examples of the two varieties of sweet potatoes that he grows in Izmir, Turkey on November 14, 2021. (Photo IHA)

Affordable prices

After seeing the expensive price tags of the imported orange variety on market shelves, Baba set out to research how to grow the crop with the aim of creating a value-added product for the retail and commercial sectors. from wholesale.

“I think I could be the first in our area to produce sweet potatoes. First I planted them in a small area on a trial basis and got a good yield. I am thinking of selling this product, which is normally imported, for 15 TL per kilogram. There are very few sweet potato growers in Turkey, and the ones that do are in Antalya and Hatay. I produce in Izmir, “Baba told the agency press release Ihlas (IHA).

After making sure the crop received plenty of sun, water and fertile soil, his business turned out to be successful and he was impressed with the speed of the growing season. “This area is 15 acres. I planted in July and now we’re going to harvest soon. In other words, it’s a vegetable that comes to harvest in 120 days,” he said.

Sweet potatoes grown by Åžerafettin Baba in Izmir, Turkey on November 14, 2021. (Photo IHA)
Sweet potatoes grown by Åžerafettin Baba in Izmir, Turkey on November 14, 2021. (Photo IHA)

“They think it’s beets or radishes”

Potatoes are not native to Turkey, and Baba said locals are often taken aback by their unusual appearance. “When they see the product, people think it’s beet or radish, but there is no similarity at all. It’s called ‘sweet potato’, but it looks more like a chestnut than it does. to a potato.

“Citizens first notice the product because of its interesting shape. After trying it, they like it. There are several varieties of this potato in different colors. There is one red and one white. There is one which is purple on the outside and inside and one orange, I have planted the red and purple varieties.

Sweet potatoes are not only a healthier way to reduce sugar cravings, Baba also pointed out that they offer several health benefits: “Diabetic patients, in particular, prefer these potatoes as a food containing sugar. vitamins A, B, C and B6. are also an important source of fiber. Cancer patients also prefer sweet potatoes as a healthy choice because they are a source of healing nutrients.

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