Production and post-harvest handling of sweetpotato are constrained by many factors. The objective of the study was assessing and documenting the major constraints affecting production, pre- and post-harvest handling and farmers’ preferences for sweetpotato in Ethiopia. It was conducted in three selected major sweetpotato growing zones in Ethiopia using a participatory rural appraisal methodology. The identified production constraints were heat and drought at 21.6%, shortage of planting materials (20.1%), shortage of land (15.7%), diseases (10.0%), insect-pests (9.4%), a lack of draft power (8.1%), shortage of money (7.9%), a lack of labour (5.1%) and weeds (2.0%). Poor access to markets at 22.6%, poor market prices (19.1%), low yields (14.2%), low root dry matter content (13.6%), a lack of knowledge on processing (11.7%), a lack of processing equipment (11.1%) and transportation problem (7.7%) were identified as the major postharvest constraints. The major farmers’ selection criteria for sweetpotato varieties were resistance to heat and drought (19.6%), dry matter content (16.4%), taste (14.3%), root yield (13.6%), resistance to disease and insects (13.3%), earliness (11.6%) and cookability (8.9%). Results of this study can serve as a baseline reference for strategic breeding and other interventions to develop sweetpotato varieties according to the needs of the farmers.