20 new sweet potato varieties, with new traits and colors. All of them were selected, but only one variety was crowned number one!

The world abounds with many varieties of sweet potatoes (yams), of various shapes and colors. The most common and familiar sweet potatoes available in the markets are the orange Georgia Jet and Beauregard sweet potato varieties, which are estimated to total about 98% of all sweet potatoes in Israel. We are indeed accustomed to the orange color of sweet potatoes, but during the Sweet Potato Conference held by the Ministry of Agriculture's Training and Professional Services, many new varieties will be unveiled for the first time, and the queen of sweet potatoes will be crowned. Over the past year, the Ministry of Agriculture has conducted testing of 20 new varieties that have not yet been acclimated in Israel. These include 5 unique varieties of white sweet potatoes, each with different traits and properties. 

First place was awarded to the American Travis variety, winning the title of the leading white sweet potato: it is golden outside and white inside. The new variety yields about 3 tons per 0.1 hectares, most of which is of high quality. Our experts expect that it will be the chosen variety that, if adopted commercially, we'll be able to see it in stores within a few years! So what are its benefits? Apart from its unique colors, the new variety is characterized by a particularly high level of dryness, which results in low oil adsorption during frying, so it is excellent for potato fritters (latkes) or crispy French fries, as well as for products of the chips industry!

Second place came all the way from China - the pink variety Xushu 18: from the outside it looks like the familiar sweet potatoes with a light pink color, but when you open it, you discover a white sweet potato inside. The Xushu 18 sweet potato, which is the leading variety in China, has outstanding flavor. However, this new variety has a thin rind, which gives it an uninviting appearance and can impair its quality and shelf life.

The respectable third place went to the Tanzania variety found East Africa. This variety is white on the outside, and when you cut it you discover a sweet potato with a yellowish shade. The variety does have great potential for growth, and it also has extremely low levels of oil adsorption. However, sweet potato rot sets in easily, in less than a month, and the variety's yield is in fact low relative to its competitors. All these traits add up to a variety with a low chance of successful commercialization.

Interested and want to learn more about all the varieties on the list? All this and more will be presented during the Sweet Potato conference. We invite you to come today, Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 8:00 AM, to the Ministry of Agriculture's Agricultural Center in Rishon LeZion.