Jakarta (ANTARA) - Chief of the Presidential Staff Office Moeldoko reiterated the importance of expediting the development of the sorghum ecosystem that could facilitate efforts to guarantee national food stability.

According to Moeldoko, increasing alternative food production is a precise strategy, so that Indonesia does not depend on rice as the sole food commodity.

"We all know about the advantages of sorghum and sago that provide great economic potential for this country. However, we need to discuss and mull over why these two commodities are still not developed?" he noted in a statement received in Jakarta, Wednesday.

Moeldoko made the statement as keynote speaker at the opening of a webinar titled "Corporation-Based National Strategy for Development and Industrialization of Sago and Sorghum" that was initiated by the Indonesian Agronomy Association (PERAGI) in Jakarta, (Sept 14).

"We have to start building an alternative food ecosystem, especially sorghum. I also hope that all kinds of discussions held by experts would produce something concrete. Do not just compete with concepts but have poor applications," he emphasized.

The low number of off-takers or companies that connect farmers' commodities to the market has hindered the development of the sorghum ecosystem, Moeldoko stated.

Hence, he emphasized that the owners of capital need to be convinced to contribute to developing the national alternative food industry.

"The lack of off-takers causes the sorghum industry to not develop. Hence, sorghum cultivation does not grow massively. Research in the sorghum seed sector is also not going well. Why? (It is) because sorghum is not an option," he pointed out.

In fact, in comparison with other food commodities, sorghum is a multifunctional plant, as all parts of the plant can be used as food, animal feed, and bioethanol.

Sorghum seeds are not much different from rice or wheat. Sorghum stalk sap is a source of bioethanol, while the dregs of the stems and leaves can be used for animal feed.

Moeldoko is optimistic that the sorghum ecosystem would soon be used for animal feed, as Indonesia is still self-sufficient in rice.

"However, when we face a crisis, we can easily shift to sorghum as an alternative food for humans because the ecosystem has been built," he stated.

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Translator: Gilang G, Azis Kurmala
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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