Do not force it since each region has different characteristics.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked all stakeholders to not force regions to grow crops that are not native or traditionally cultivated in the area.

"Each region must have its own crop advantages, according to the characteristics of the land (in each region), the condition of the people, as well as the traditions of its community. Do not force it since each region has different characteristics," he remarked at the opening of the national working meeting of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) here on Tuesday.

For instance, the land in Papua is suitable for growing sago, thus the traditional staple food of the local community is also sago, he noted.

He, therefore, advised against forcing Papuan people to grow and eat rice.

"Hence, do not force (the people) to be out of (their) character (or tradition), especially as we know that sago is actually the healthiest food because it is gluten-free and does not contain sugar,” he added.

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He said that the attempt to grow healthy food will also be pursued by other countries.

The President noted that a kind of bulbous plant called porang (Amorphophallus muelleri Blume) is also very low in sugar and is, therefore, considered healthy food.

Meanwhile, the dry soil in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province is excellent for sorghum and corn cultivation, he informed.

"Without a lot of water, sorghum can grow well in NTT. Earlier, the residents in NTT cultivated sorghum, however, they shifted to rice (which requires a lot of water). It was a mistake. Thus, we have begun to develop large-scale sorghum cultivation in NTT (on) 40 hectares (of land) in Waingapu," he said.

Sorghum can be an alternative food, considering that currently, the price of wheat is soaring due to the Russia-Ukraine war, he added.

"Our import volume of wheat currently reaches 11 million tons -- which is very large. It is something we have to begin to think over," he stated.

Furthermore, he expressed his gratitude to general chairperson of the PDIP, Megawati Soekarnoputri, who also serves as head of the Steering Committee of the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), for encouraging BRIN to conduct more research related to food.

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Translator: Rangga Jingga, Uyu Liman
Editor: Suharto
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