However, I am worried that next year (in 2023), we will experience a drought due to El Nino phenomenon.
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Chief of the Presidential Staff Office (KSP) General (Ret.) Moeldoko stated that education and dissemination of information on the importance of consuming alternative staple food were deemed necessary to reduce people's dependence on rice.

"Currently, the community’s dependence on rice is still very high, reaching 2.5 million tons per month," he noted, as quoted from a statement received on Saturday.

Moeldoko made the statement while giving a public lecture to students of Manado State University (Unima), North Sulawesi Province, on Friday (December 16, 2022).

The KSP head lauded the college for its contribution in strengthening national food security by increasing sorghum cultivation.

Moeldoko remarked that the attempt showed a concrete realization of the university's commitment to participate in maintaining food security and disseminating alternative staple foods to the public.

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Unima has prepared a 50-hectare plot of land for sorghum cultivation.

For the pilot, the crop would be planted on a three-hectare plot of land located in the area of the campus in Tonsari Village, South Tondano Sub-district, Minahasa District, North Sulawesi Province.

Furthermore, Moeldoko remarked that currently, the national rice stock is sufficient due to good rice production owing to the wet weather as a result of La Nina phenomenon.

He highlighted a surplus in national rice production in the last three years.

"However, I am worried that next year (in 2023), we will experience a drought due to El Nino phenomenon. (If it occurs), there is a potential of crop failure. Hence, we have to prepare substitutes for (our current) staple food (which is rice). One of them (the substitutes) is sorghum," the KSP head remarked.

Sorghum can become an alternative staple food since it can grow in dry lands, he remarked.

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Meanwhile, Chancellor of Unima Deitje A. Katuuk stated that the threat of a global food crisis had encouraged his side to develop sorghum cultivation.

Katuuk noted that universities should participate in responding to this potential crisis by taking concrete attempts and not just making discourses.

"We (Unima) are also inspired by Mr Moeldoko, who continues to raise the potential of sorghum as an alternative staple food," he stated.

On the same occasion, Unima bestowed the title of "Father of Sorghum Cultivation in Indonesia" on Moeldoko.

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Translator: Indra Pribadi, Uyu Liman
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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