New News, Jakarta – The Torang Pu Para Para Festival initiated by the Sustainable Agriculture Program in Papua (PAPeDA) seeks to develop taro plants to create healthy food security and improve the management of forest products with economic value while maintaining forest sustainability in Papua.
The PAPeDA program organized by the Association for Small Business Improvement (PUPUK) and supported by The Asia Foundation (TAF) also aims to promote local healthy food products to the public, government and private sector in general as well as to the provincial governments of Papua and West Papua. in particular.
Director Mnukwar, as one of the organizations initiating taro cultivation in the Papua region, Seno Bagus said that taro is a superior product in Nenei.
“One of the superior products in Nenei, which has been developed by the community from generation to generation, and has good quality and high productivity, one of which is taro,” said Sena, in the discussion series of the Torang Pu Para Para Festival Series II entitled Concocting taro for healthy food, Wednesday (18/8).
In the process of assisting the cultivation of taro, Sena said that Mnukwar together with the community are trying to initiate the development of taro so that it can create local food security as well as the community can get economic value.
“Taro is one of the products that we are both trying to come up with by intensifying the existing land without opening up new lands for farming. This then makes the community enthusiastic about planting taro. And we are looking for solutions so that this product can get the market and the community will benefit,” he explained.
In turn, the Head of the West Papua Horticulture and Plantation Food Crops Service, Yacob Fonataba explained that the government is also trying to increase agricultural production, including taro or taro.
“We have also made a program to increase agricultural production, a program to increase production, productivity and quality of food crops to achieve self-sufficiency and sustainable self-sufficiency,” said Yacob.
Therefore, Yacob emphasized that the government will support the development of taro to achieve healthy food security in Papua.
“My policy as the head of the service is that we prioritize the Otsus (special autonomy) funds for commodities cultivated by native Papuans, including taro,” he said.
Director of Kinarya Asia Partners, Nanik Rahmawati, said that taro is a multipurpose plant choice because every part of the taro plant can be used from tip to bottom.
“From the leaves alone, it can be used for medicine, vegetables and food. Then the stem itself for vegetables. And this tuber is mostly managed for the economy, which is as raw material for the essence and flour, it can also be used for snacks. Then the bark and roots can also be used for animal feed,” explained Nanik.
Food Management Expert, Retnosyari Septiyani also revealed that taro is one of the local food ingredients, a unique property, especially in Papua, which can be processed and used for various products with different market segments.
“For the leaves alone, the market segment is already wide, indeed exported to Australia or America. Dried leaves can be used for herbal drinks there,” he explained.
Not only that, Retnosyari also said tubers from taro can be processed into fresh food, intermediate product, finish food or a more durable finished product. And each type of food can segmented.
Retnosyari on the occasion emphasized that taro tubers in the form of intermediate products can reach a very wide market.
“Then what we can do to increase its shelf life, is to Intermediate product, one of them with taro starch and flour. From flour alone, its shelf life can be up to 1-1.5 years. Then from intermediate product We can make many products, one of which is towards biscuits or bakery product. and in bakery product this can also go to various, can go to bread or bread, cake, brownies, or cookies. We can also make noodles,” he explained.
In fact, continued Retnosyari, during this pandemic, taro can have a good chance.
“In this pandemic era, it can actually be a good opportunity, especially for the upper middle class, they will look for products that healthy, healthy. Well, so that we can bring these local food products to healthy food. We can make this an issue, especially for the marketing of taro products,” he said.
In terms of content, according to Retnosyari, yams have many beneficial nutrients.
Future Prospects and Challenges
From this fact, taro has bright prospects in the future as an effort to improve local food security.
“Taro can replace rice. The upper middle class are already trying to find alternatives,” said Retnosyari.
Nanik Rahmawati also said that the prospect of taro in the future is very large.
“It’s very big, especially if it’s in the form of flour or starch, because taro is not durable, so it must be made to last a long time,” he said.
However, Rahmawati also reminded that the great prospects also make the cultivation of taro also face big challenges, especially in terms of target availability.
“First, we will complete the local target, then when it is established, we will go to the regional, then we will go to the international. So we have to look at our own capabilities and the market we are going to reach.” he explained.
Yacob also explained the same thing, that there are various problems in developing the production of various tubers including taro, starting from the upstream system, on farm (cultivation access) to the downstream system.
“This is what people sometimes talk about agriculture is not complete until here, in the end the community or farmers experience economic problems. For example, in Manokwari, how much land does he have to open, what supporting facilities are there, how is the institution registered, not Simultaneous, is there assistance, and so on, how is the application of technology and so on, especially in downstreaming, is there a reservoir, the market, “said Yacob.