Jakarta (ANTARA) - The National Food Agency (Bapanas) is developing small-grained cereals called millet as an alternative source of carbohydrates for consumption, as addition to rice that widely consumed in the country.

"Millet has a big contribution to the solution to the food crisis as an affordable source of healthy food," Bapanas' Deputy of Food Consumption Diversification and Safety, Andriko Noto Susanto, said here on Thursday.

In addition, millet can be cultivated in unfavorable climates and dry land with minimal agricultural inputs, he pointed out.

Susanto said that the optimization of millet consumption is part of an effort to realize national food security through food consumption diversification that is based on local potentials.

Bapanas, as a government agency that handles government tasks in the food sector, plays an important role in efforts to achieve food security.

One of the policies devised to ensure food security is encouraging food diversification based on local foods, including millets.

Bapanas' Director of Food Consumption Diversification, Rinna Syawal, said that in addition to formulating regulations on local-based food diversification, her agency is continuing to carry out promotion, education, dissemination of information, and campaigns to encourage the use of millets as raw materials.

Syawal further said that the types of millets found in Indonesia comprise foxtail millet, which is grown in Java, Sulawesi, and Maluku; barnyard millet in Sumbawa and Sulawesi; finger millet in Sumatra and Java; proso millet in Flores; and sorghum (great millet) in Nusa Tenggara.

FAO Representative for Indonesia and Timor Leste, Rajendra Aryal, said that currently, all countries need to maintain food availability and millets are playing an important role in crop diversification.

Now is the right time to promote millets as a crop and alternative food, he added.

He affirmed that FAO supports India's request to designate 2023 as the International Year of Millets, which has finally been approved by the UN General Assembly.

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Translator: Kuntum Khaira, Raka Adji
Editor: Arie Novarina
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