Jakarta (ANTARA) - A variety of nutmeg crops are grown in Indonesian regions, but they have their own disadvantages and advantages, chief researcher at the Spice and Medicinal Plant Research Center of the Ministry of Agriculture has said.

The advantages are there are many varieties of nutmeg, Otih Rostiana said. Moreover, nutmeg can be used as a spice for food or processed into cosmetics and drugs, she added here on Tuesday.

However, the drawback is that not all types of nutmeg grown in the country have the highest quality, she said. This is in contrast with nutmeg grown in the island country of Grenada, which is a strong competitor of Indonesia in the nutmeg market, she added.

The quality of nutmeg in Grenada is high because it grows only one type of nutmeg, unlike Indonesia, she remarked.

Nutmeg has thrived in Grenada ever since it was introduced on the island by the British who once colonized Indonesia, she said.

According to Rostiana, during British colonization, nutmeg was taken to their other colonies, including the island of Grenada.

Since 1511, nutmeg seeds and flowers have been commodities that nations have fought over, she informed. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) controlled the spice trade in Maluku islands in the early 17th century, she said.

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Maluku nutmeg was over time brought and grown in several regions such as North Sulawesi, West Sumatra, Bengkulu, Aceh, Lampung, and West Java, she said.

"From the island of Banda, nutmeg was distributed by the colonizers to West Java, so the quality of West Java nutmeg is not inferior to Banda's," she added.

According to Rostiana, in general, cultivated nutmeg comes from the southern Maluku islands, especially Ambon and Banda, because it has great quality.

Not all nutmeg is suitable for cooking or making medicines or cosmetics, she pointed out. For example, forest nutmeg is only suitable as a protective tree, and its fruits are not fit for use, she said.

In Indonesia, there are five provinces that have become production centers for nutmegs, with a cumulative contribution of 86.71 percent annually, she noted. The provinces are Aceh (25.46 percent per year), North Maluku (19.89 percent), North Sulawesi (14.79 percent), Maluku (14.65 percent), and West Papua (11.93 percent), she added.

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Translator: Nanien Y, Kenzu T
Editor: Suharto
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