Sweet potato or ‘kumara’ (Ipomoea batatas [L]) belongs to the family Convulaceae and originated in the northwestern part of South America around 8000–6000 BC and in Central America.
The plant was initially discovered by the Chibhuan people around 3000 BC. Reports suggest that it was cultivated in the regions for many centuries before it moved to Africa and then introduced to Europe in the 16th century.
Today, sweet potatoes are cultivated in almost every part of the tropics and the temperate regions. The world’s largest producer is Asia where China produces more than 80 per cent of the world’s production.