Sweet potato is a food that has become indispensable on store shelves in recent years due to its positive characteristics for human health, but also due to its wide application in cooking. The potential for its cultivation was recognized by the Nedeljkov family, who grow sweet potatoes on their property in Kać, near Novi Sad, but also a mini watermelon, which has also grown in popularity among consumers in our country.
The production of sweet potatoes and mini watermelons started in 2018 on small experimental areas. Last year, they grew sweet potatoes on 1.45 hectares, and mini watermelons on 1.2 hectares, while this year they plan to increase in area under these agricultural crops.
“Considering that my husband and I are agronomists and that our ancestors were also engaged in agriculture, it was logical for us to return to the village, to my husband’s grandfather. We are a fruit production improved and diversified production of sweet potatoes and mini watermelons, and we brought the idea for their cultivation from the West by visiting agricultural fairs “, explains Vedrana Nedeljkov.
Benefits of sweet potatoes and mini watermelons
She points out that unlike ordinary potatoes, sweet potatoes have low glycemic index which makes it a great food for diabetics, athletes and babies. Mini watermelons, in addition to being sweeter, firmer and crispier than ordinary watermelons, are many more practical for storage in the refrigerator and have an extremely thin crust, she states. They have mikrosemenke which contain vitamins, minerals and fiber.
“We are currently producing four types of sweet potatoes: white, purple, orange and pink. In addition to color, these species differ in taste and texture, purple for example reminiscent of a chestnut and the best is cooked, while the pink is the most beautiful baked. “Purple is great for making soups, gnocchi, gomboca and dough,” said the interlocutor of our portal.
As he says, the most important thing in the production of every fruit and vegetable is time and manner of harvesting.
“It simply came to our notice then controlled and responsible production, which means that we do not spray anything preventively, but only if the problem can cause significant damage to the yield. Besides all we can we work manually and we try to reduce possible problems in production by the way of production and selection of crops, because as agronomists we observe and understand the plant and we are aware that the land is a conditionally renewable resource, “said this producer.
Vedrana Nedeljkov says that these cultures very demanding for breeding, especially sweet potatoes because they are not in our area. They work with their beekeeper friend, who brought hives to help the bees pollinate, and they also planted a few melons because the melon flower attracts bees more than the watermelon flower.
Turning to online product sales
Demand for their sweet potatoes and mini watermelons is up increases, because, as our interlocutor estimates, people are increasingly turning to a healthy diet. That is why it is important for them to communicate with customers and get feedback from them.
This farm sells its products and online.
“We started selling online sweet potatoes because it was the most economical way to sell them due to low demand for them. Over time, the demand for sweet potatoes increased, as did the interest of customers in online shopping. Today, we sell our products both online and on the market “, said our interlocutor.
Her opinion is that online sales cannot completely replace face-to-face sales, but that more and more people are buying this way especially after the onset of the pandemic, so farmers also adapt they are increasingly turning to online sales. She points out that it is The biggest advantage of online sales is expanding the market, and the disadvantage is that there is no direct communication with customers.
The Nedeljkov farm is a real example of how innovation and courage to embark on something new can bring success and income satisfaction. This family started growing agricultural crops two years ago, which are unconventional for our country, and today they are turning to expanding the areas under it.
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