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Sago, the Source of Carbohydrates, the Solution of Food Sovereignty in Indonesia

  • Date:
    24 Apr 2021
  • Author:
    KEHATI

Flach data in 2007 states that the total area of ​​sago palms (Metroxylon spp) in Indonesia can reach 1,250,000 hectares or 51.3% of the world’s sago forest area. If developed properly, sago can be a solution to food sovereignty for Indonesia, even the world. This was conveyed in the Sago Webinar as a Global Crisis Solution organized by the KEHATI Foundation (11/10).

Sago is a native Indonesian plant that has great potential as a supplier of Indonesia’s carbohydrate needs as a substitute for rice. In addition to environmentally friendly cultivation, sago productivity is also high compared to other food sources. It is recorded that the potential productivity of sago reaches 20-40 / ha per year (Bintoro, 2000). Much higher than rice (5.2 tonnes / ha), corn (8.2 tonnes / ha), and cassava (6.75 tonnes / ha).

The spread of sago plants in Indonesia, especially in the areas of Papua, West Papua, Maluku, North Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, South Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Jambi, West Sumatra (Mentawai), and Riau. This plant has different local names. By the Sundanese it is called Kirai; the Javanese call it ambulung or kersulu, and in Ambon and Seram it is called Lapia. In Southeast Sulawesi it is called Tuni, Roe, Molat.

“If we want to look at history, Indonesia’s local food sources are so diverse, one of which is sago. With its ecological compatibility and the many functions of sago plants, sago is a potential source of carbohydrates for Indonesia’s food sovereignty, as well as a substitute for wheat, ”said the Executive Director of the KEHATI Foundation, Riki Frindos.

In addition to human food sources, sago can be used as a source of animal feed, industrial food sources, and energy sources. As a source of industrial foodstuff, sago starch can be used as raw material for bread, noodles, cakes and syrup. Sago starch is also used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, paper, ethanol and textile industries. Meanwhile, the bioethanol produced can be used as a premium substitute fuel.

KEHATI’s intervention in the development of sago cultivation was carried out in 2 regions, namely the Sangihe Islands and Salawati Island, West Papua. Since 2012, KEHATI has carried out a program to increase the added value of biological resources such as spices, coconuts, and sago in Sangihe Regency with APO KOMASA-SAMPIRI partners.

Apart from Metroxylon Spp, in Sangihe and Talaud, North Sulawesi, there is one type of sago that grows well on the ground without being flooded and is known as sago baruk Arenga microcarpha with the name sago baruk and has been released as a local and superior variety of Sangihe.

In Sangihe, besides planting, several activities are carried out, namely assisting women’s groups in processing sago, and providing tools and a sago production house. One of the Women’s Karatung Lestari groups produces processed sago in the form of noodles and macaroni from a noodle processing machine obtained from the Sangihe District Food Security Agency.

To accelerate food diversification in fulfilling needs and improving the quality of people’s food consumption, the Regional Government of Sangihe Islands Regency issued Regulation of the Regent of Sangihe Islands Number 33 of 2017. concerning the Two Days Without Eating Rice Movement “Two Days No Rice.” The program, which is held every Tuesday and Friday, aims to change people’s habits from consuming rice to tubers and sago. In fact, during the Covid 19 period, sago was a substitute for rice which was provided as direct assistance to the community. In addition, with the increasing demand for local food, it is hoped that people’s income will increase.

In collaboration with the Kitorang foundation and Bentara Papua, KEHATI supports the development of sago in Salawati Island, West Papua. One of the activities is the mapping of Waimici sago forest / hamlet which is located in Waimici village, Central Salawati District, Raja Ampat Regency. As a result, it has been identified with an area of ​​about 52.3 ha of sago forest, there is a potential production area of ​​around 352 tons of wet sago starch or about 176 tons of dry sago starch.

 

In addition, KEHATI also provides assistance to women’s groups through processing and marketing of sago. Based on the agreement, processed sago flour is encouraged to become sago bangket cakes and sago chococips to be marketed. Now, sago starch products can be obtained in several major supermarkets in Sorong City. In just 5 months from September 2019 – February 2020, 423 kg of sago was successfully marketed. Promotion also continues to be encouraged in the mass media and social media.

The development of sago as a food source is carried out by the local government in accordance with existing statutory mandates. Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 18 of 2012 concerning Food mandates that the government and local governments play an important role in realizing diversification of food consumption to meet people’s nutritional needs and to support healthy, active and productive lives, especially in increasing public awareness and cultivating diverse food consumption patterns. , nutritious, balanced and safe, as well as in accordance with local potential and wisdom.

 

The implementation of Law Number 18 of 2012 is followed up by Government Regulation Number 17 of 2015 concerning Food Security and Nutrition, in chapter III describes food diversification and improving the quality of community nutrition.

 

Answers to the Food Crisis through Sustainable Gastronomy

In 2008, FAO predicts a global food crisis will occur, where food supplies must be increased by 50% by 2030. In April 2020, FAO said that the global food crisis will come sooner as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is also the President’s concern. Jokowi. The policy to establish a food estate was taken to address the food crisis, especially the availability of rice. In fact, talking about food security does not have to be related to rice self-sufficiency.

The KEHATI Foundation, through a policy paper issued in 2019, recommends that the government and parties should restore the concept of archipelago food which is based on the diversity of local biological and cultural resources. Sastrapradja et.al (2010) in one of his writings entitled “Agricultural Biodiversity Ensures Food Sovereignty” also states that Indonesian people must be aware of and must know about the biological wealth of their nation.

Talking about local sources of food and cultivation can connect with the art of gastronomic cooking. As a culinary school that closely links food and cultural roots, gastonomy can take advantage of the abundant local food sources in several regions in Indonesia, one of which is sago.

In Meranti Islands, Riau alone, there are more than 300 types of food processed from sago (Ministry of Education and Culture data). One of the dishes made from sago there is sago rice. Spice or barempa sago rice is processed from sago starch and mixed with other local ingredients such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and lemongrass. In South Sumatra there are pempek, and West Sumatra has Lompong Sagu, a typical Minang cake that is starting to disappear from the dining table.

In Pontianak, West Kalimantan, there are several foods made from processed sago, such as bagea, sago scissors, sago noodles, and sago porridge. In Sangihe District, there are 259 types of food made from sago and were successfully recorded in the Indonesian Record Museum (MURI) in 2014 for the record of presenting 259 foods made from sago with the best variety at the Sangihe Festival. If examined, there are still many domestic foods made from processed sago. Especially when talking about Maluku and Papua.

Apart from its benefits for food security, sago has positive properties that can support the healthy diet of the Indonesian people. “Sago is a native Indonesian carbohydrate source that is prebiotic, has a low glycemic index value and is gluten free,” said Nelda Hermawan, Head of Commercial ANJ Bueno Nasio.

Prebiotics are elements in food that support the growth and activity of both microorganisms in the digestive tract. Foods with a low glycemic index can help a person reduce levels of total and LDL cholesterol in the blood, reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and help maintain body weight. Being gluten-free food can prevent a person from suffering from celiac or gluten intolerance which can cause inflammation in the small intestine, acute diarrhea, vomiting, and miscarriage.

Bueno Nasio itself in the local dialect of the Iwaro tribe means “Delicious Kitchen” which was born from the ideas and beliefs of PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk to develop natural sago potential in South Sorong, West Papua. Bueno Nasio is a restaurant and trial kitchen located in Jakarta.

“We are here to introduce to the wider community, especially fans and practitioners in the food sector, the benefits of sago as a wealth and source of gluten-free Indonesian heritage pangam. Our vision is to make sago a food that deserves to be reckoned with in the culinary diversity of Indonesia, “said Nelda.

The webinar that raises the source of sago food is also part of a series of “24 Hours of Reality: Countdown to the Future,” which is a series of global events held simultaneously around the world on October 10-16 by The Climate Reality Project in collaboration with TED. This activity aims to spread messages filled with optimism to inspire people to rise up and take action to face the climate crisis. “Climate Reality Indonesia as an association that mainstreams the issue of the climate crisis and its solutions welcomes and supports the Sago event as a Global Crisis Solution,” said Climate Reality Indonesia Manager Amanda Katili Niode.

 

“Through gastronomy, the pride of the Indonesian people, especially the younger generation, can be built. The local food that we eat today is not only talking about raw materials, but also a source of inspiration from our ancestors, starting from knowledge, values and virtues, and local technology. In addition, the development of locally grown sago helps boost an area’s economy, supports farmers and reduces greenhouse gases and resources used in transporting food, concluded Riki.

For the material presented in the webinar “Sago as a Global Crisis Solution” can be downloaded via the following link:
3 Global Crisis, Sago as a Solution Option by Amanda Katili Niode
Sago as a Global Crisis Solution in Biodiversity and Culinary Variety by Saptarining Wulan
Sago and Local Variety of Indonesian Food by Rony Megawanto
Sources of Local Food and Traditional Food of the Sangihe Islands by Serny Maria Lalu
Real Steps to Glorify Sago by Bueno Nasio