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Govt needs to protect biodiversity : Kehati Foundation

January 21, 2015

Jakarta, Ekuatorial – Indonesia’s local biodiversity food was threatened as a result from weak food security planning from government, said an activist in Jakarta, on Tuesday (20/1).

MS Sembiring, executive director of Kehati Foundation, said plants such as sago, taro plant, and yam can be found in Papua and Maluku, tubers can be found in Papua and Java, gebang and sorghum can be found in East Nusa Tenggara and breadfruit are examples of staples in Indonesia. In addition to nuts, fruits, and local vegetables.

“However, as we have known rice as primary food, we ended up becoming one of the biggest consumer for rice. Meanwhile, we have variety of local foods in this country, ” said Sembiring.

Based on SEAMEO BIOTROP data, Indonesia has 800 food plants of which 77 species contain carbohydrate, 75 contain fat, 26 nuts, and 389 fruits. Nevertheless, he said that the numbers will be declining if Indonesia ignore to protect this biodiversity. “We have thousands of species even millions to be managed. Take example Korea which only has one primary food, such as ginger. We need to develop and promote these biodiversity,” he said.

Teguh Triyono, Program Director of Kehati Foundation said food diversity was essential as it affected food security. Triyono said that if one nation depend only on one crop then it will be hard to achieve food security. “The important thing from protecting biodiversity is to have added value from the species,” he said. “There are [plants] have potential for alternative energy. That is why protecting biodiversity is important.”

He cited Mbah Suko of Magelang Kenteng hamlet of Central Java who managed to sustain local paddy seeds which were hard to find recent days. The farmer had managed to breed 35 local paddy seeds, such as rojo lele, ketan kuthuk, kenong, rening, menthik wangi, menthik susu, gethok, leri, papah aren, berlian, tri pandung sari, and si buyung.

“The government needs to issue strategic policy to develop alternative food and people need to support local food,” he said. Yanuar Hakam


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