"More than 300 types of local bananas are widely spread throughout Indonesia," a horticulture and plantation researcher from BRIN, Agus Sutanto, said here on Thursday.
Some local bananas are specific to certain areas, for example, "goroho" bananas are grown in North Sulawesi; agung bananas in Lumajang, East Java; biu kayu are local to Bali and West Nusa Tenggara; and tonga langit bananas can be found from Maluku to Papua, he added.
According to him, people often process bananas into chips and even use them as rice substitutes for breakfast.
BRIN, he said, uses genetic resources from local bananas to produce plants that can withstand biotic and abiotic threats. For instance, the agency has used kepok tanjung bananas to create a plant gene that can withstand blood disease.
"We have considerable genetic resources from wild and local bananas. Therefore, we need to carry out exploration," he said.
Head of the BRIN's Horticulture and Plantation Research Center, Dwinita Wikan Utami, said that horticultural commodities in Indonesia play an important role in meeting the nation's food, nutrition, health, and economic needs.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the horticulture sector contributed significantly to economic growth, she noted.
Based on data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the agricultural sector grew by 16.24 percent between the first and second quarters of 2020.
The increase was supported by the growth of the food (34.77 percent), horticulture (21.75 percent), and plantation (23.46 percent) sub-sectors. Meanwhile, other sectors experienced negative growth due to the pandemic.
"Gross domestic growth (of the agricultural sector) increased compared to other sectors. This shows that the horticulture sector has an important role in supporting the national economy," Utami said.
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