Sorghum contains high levels of iron, calcium, and protein, which can help reduce the stunting rate in Indonesia.
Mojokerto, E Java (ANTARA) - Deputy for Processed Food Supervision at the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency (BPOM) Rita Endang has said that sorghum can be a viable alternative food that can help reduce childhood stunting in Indonesia.

"Sorghum contains high levels of iron, calcium, and protein, which can help reduce the stunting rate in Indonesia," she said at the "Workshop on the Security, Quality, and Nutrition Guarantee for Sorghum-Based Processed Food" here on Thursday.

According to her, sorghum can serve as an alternative to rice for diabetes patients due to its low sugar level and carbohydrate content. It is also gluten-free, so it is safe for people with autism.

She further said that sorghum has good nutrients and can be grown in regions with low availability of water. Thus, it can be an alternative staple to rice.

The BPOM has carried out a number of discussions for the development of sorghum in Indonesia since April 14, 2023. The agency has also made efforts to oversee the development of the sorghum-based food industry in Indonesia.

"The good agricultural process, the good manufacturing process, and its distribution have become our concern," she informed.

Based on data collected by BPOM, sorghum has significantly high levels of dietary fiber and iron compared to other cereals such as rice, cassava, and wheat. The iron content of sorghum is 5.4 mg/100 g, which is higher compared to brown rice (1.8 mg/100 g) and wheat (3.5 mg/100 g).

Additionally, sorghum has a protein content of 10–11 percent, higher than that of milled rice (6–7 percent) and only slightly below wheat (12 percent).

Endang informed that to attract people to sorghum-based processed food, her agency is open to collaborating with food entrepreneurs seeking to create various types of processed food with sorghum.

"With its good content, high protein, lower carbohydrates than rice, of course, this is important to be developed," she stressed.

Stunting reduction is a priority program of the Indonesian government, which is aiming to bring down stunting prevalence to 14 percent by 2024.

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Translator: Sean Muhamad, Raka Adji
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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