Sorghum is being cultivated in Central Java, East Java, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Agriculture is intensifying the development of sorghum from upstream to downstream to strengthen alternative food commodities in an effort to face challenges amid the world's food crisis.

Director-General of Food Crops at the Ministry of Agriculture Suwandi said in an official statement on Friday that sorghum was not only a replacement for rice but also useful as a feed ingredient and able to produce bio-ethanol.

He remarked that sorghum is a plant that is easy to cultivate with low production costs and immensely beneficial for health. Sorghum also has the same benefits as rice, corn, and soybeans.

"Sorghum is being cultivated in Central Java, East Java, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, and East Nusa Tenggara. Almost all parts of the sorghum plant, such as seeds, seed stalks, leaves, stems, and roots, can be used as industrial raw materials. It can be used to make syrup, sugar, handicrafts, starch, biomass, bioethanol, and as a flour substitute for wheat and others," he said.

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Suwandi also remarked that in contrary to wheat, sorghum does not contain gluten. Sorghum is rich in niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, as well as iron and manganese.

Representative of the Larantuka Socio-Economic Development Foundation (Yaspensel) Elisabeth Hera Mukin addressed that the potential for sorghum development in NTT was quite large.

Her foundation has assisted farmer groups spread across Flores, Adonara, and Lembata to implement the correct post-harvest cultivation of sorghum. Moreover, farmers were able to sort qualified seeds to be used for the next planting season.

“We provide training to housewives and teenagers to make processed sorghum without losing its nutritional value. For instance, cake, noodles, dumplings, cookies, and sorghum porridge. We also give training to make handicrafts from sorghum panicles, such as flower pots, bouquets, and frames. The leaves and stems can also be used for animal feed," she added.

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Meanwhile, the owner of Athaya Sorghum, Natha Fadhlin, said her business was a micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) entity engaged in the culinary field of sorghum in Jakarta.

Athaya Sorghum focuses on processing sorghum variety named Bioguma. The variety has the potential to produce seven tons of sorghum rice and flour sorghum per hectare.

“Sorghum rice can be processed into an alternative food source to replace rice. Sorghum rice has a delicious and fluffier taste, similar to rice. It can also be served with various side dishes," she remarked.

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Translator: Aditya Ramadhan, Resinta S
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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