Sweet Potato: Simple Facts, Uses And Benefits To Know

sweet potato

Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a common tuber in Nigeria, 

It’s grown in the country and loved by many.

Although it’s called potatoes it’s very different from potatoes referred to as Irish potatoes in Nigeria. 

It’s a good substitute for yam when yam is out of season and expensive, it’s sometimes served alongside with yam or plantain.

Sweet potatoes are relatively cheap compared to potatoes in Nigeria.

It is grown in almost every region in Nigeria.

In Nigeria sweet potato is called Nduku Uto in Igbo, Odunkun dun in Yoruba, Dankalin turawa in Hausa.

The common variety of this crop in Nigeria is the red or purple skin with white flesh and the cream or brown skin with yellow flesh.


Sweet potato is a root crop, and grows beneath the soil.

The tuber comes in various sizes although sweet potatoes are much bigger in size than potatoes  

Their size ranges from medium to large sized tubers

They can be oblong or rounded or shapeless or slender in shape depending on the variety

They are often pointed at the tip

Its made up of the outer skin and the flesh 

The skin is thin and comes either red or purple, cream or brown in colour 

The flesh is firm, starchy, slightly sticky and its colour is either white or cream.

In other countries varieties with orange or purple flesh.

In Nigeria the tubers have a sweet, earthy taste.

Nutritional Information

A medium sized baked sweet potatoes
Calories 103kcals
Fat 0g
Carbohydrate 24g
Fibre 3.8g
Sugar 7.4g
Starch 8.0g

Brief History

It’s said that sweet potatoes was first domesticated more than 5,000 years ago in Latin America, 

The tuber came into Spain around 1500, by the 16th century other varieties of the crop were grown in spain.

It was introduced into Nigeria in the late 1600s by the portuguese.

Introduced into New England in 1764.

Because the crop favours the subtropical and tropical regions it is seen to be grown much more in these locations.

It has little popularity in Europe compared to its other counterpart potatoes.

It is abundant in Africa and Asia, with China being the largest producer and consumer of sweet potatoes followed by Malawi, Tanzania 

and  Nigeria being the fourth largest producer of sweet potatoes in the world as at 2022.


For food 

Sweet potato serves as food and it is boiled, roasted, fried and baked and served along with sauce or stew or taken as a stand alone meal or snack. 

For example sweet potato porridge, chips etc.

In the food industry

For food its used in other forms within the food industry 

Its made into flour and used for baking ( cake, bread etc)

Serves as thickeners for soup and sauce  

Used in the production of starch

It’s used in the production of nutritional health products.

In the pharmaceutical industry

The starch produced from sweet potatoes is used in different ways within this industry.

Sweet potatoes are also used in the production of ethanol.

Sweet potatoes can be used for various products such as”

Agricultural industry 

Sweet potatoes serve as feed for animals.

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