"Sweet potatoes are a staple food for Chinese and are grown all over China. The market time and export time in the north is from September to April. In the South, most of the production falls between February and October. Because the market supply is usually rather stable, price fluctuations usually hover around 10%,' says mister Henry Zhang from Jining Fangda Import & Export, from Shandong province in Northeast China.
"In Shandong province we own an area of 333 hectares (5,000 mu) on which we grow sweet potatoes. Our yearly output is approximately 10,000 tons. In addition, we have also signed contracts with farmers all over the country which comply with the sales criteria of our company. We grow sweet potatoes of many different varieties. Our main varieties are red peeled with white flesh, other ones are red both on the outside and inside. Another variety that is popular has a red peel and purple flesh."
"70% of our crop is labelled under our private brand 'Fangda'. We export domestically to vegetable markets in Guangzhou (Guangdong province), Baoding (Hebei province), Northeast China and other places. The other 30% goes through either the port in Qingdao (Shandong province) or Shenzhen (Guangdong province) and is exported to regions of the Middle East, the United States of America, Canada and Europe."
"At this moment our biggest export market is the Middle East. Gross exports to Europe take up approximately 30%. We hope that in the future the scale of our exports can be increased. We took note of the fact that in recent years the perceptions of Chinese sweet potatoes by overseas consumers has quietly changed. 10 years ago, our most important foreign consumers were overseas Chinese, but following improvements in the varieties of Chinese sweet potatoes and our company's increased care in assessing the quality of exported goods, European locals have also gradually started to welcome our Chinese sweet potatoes. Although the acknowledgement process will be slow and sweet potato exports to Europe are also still in their infancy, I believe there are good prospects."
"The value of our firm's yearly self-operated exports exceeds more than 10 million USD. In comparison to 2015, our exports in 2016, have grown around 20%. At the present stage, we are discussing an entry through European supermarkets. I hope we can increase our exports to Europe this year. If we compare ourselves to similar export companies, we seem to have a loyal customer base. Moreover, we are also well informed about the market and are thus able to adapt appropriately. In addition to sweet potatoes, we also have an importing business in garlic, ginger, chestnuts and pomelos. These goods are mainly sold in the Middle East, Europe, America, Southeast Asia and another 20 countries and regions."