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Jakarta Post

Sago key for diversifying diets in Indonesia

  • Stephen Rudgard

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Jakarta   /   Fri, June 21, 2019   /  01:19 pm
Sago key for diversifying diets in Indonesia In this photo, a worker makes sago dough. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with Indonesian government has officiated the first integrated sago palm processing facility in Southeast Sulawesi as part of a food diversification program. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

Dark and swampy. That was my impression of the first sago palm grove that I ever saw during a visit to Southeast Sulawesi. The sago palm is native to Indonesia, growing in riverine margins or seasonally flooded wetlands. It has long had a high cultural value as an important source of carbohydrate for native populations. For hundreds of years, starch extracted from sago palm trunks was the second most important staple food after rice. Alfred Russel Wallace, the globally distinguished naturalist and anthropologist, noted in his Malay Journal in 1869 that sago cakes were the staple food for the Moluccan islanders. Sago starch is mainly produced and eaten by communities in the eastern provinces of Indonesia Papua and/or West Papua, Maluku and Sulawesi and is also used in some provinces in Kalimantan and Sumatra. A single sago trunk, harvested when it is 6 to 7 meter long, normally give...

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