East Java Developing Cassava as Substitute Rice

To anticipate a food crisis due to extreme weather conditions, the East Java Food Security Council (BKP) has begun to create a substitute-rice to replace the real staple food. The mocaf-based (modified cassava flour) ‘rice’ is undergoing testing prior to production.

“We have been developing it since 2011. We are seeing the results now. Hopefully, we can launch it by October at the Food Security Day,” said Apriyanto, the head of East Java BKP Food Consumption and Diversification Board, yesterday.

According to Apriyanto, the process to produce this substitute-rice was conducted jointly with the Jember State university’s Faculty of Agricultural Technology. Although it is a substitute the nutritional value of this cassava-rice will be no less than the natural rice.

The nutritional value of the substitute- rice—like natural rice—fulfills at least three nutritional requirements: protein, regulatory nutrients, and the same carbohydrate content as natural rice.

Apriyanto explained that in order to obtain the same flavor as natural rice, the substitute rice is a mixture consisting 30 percent natural rice flour and 70 percent of mocaf-based flour. “We even made it look like natural rice. The flour will be formed into grains the size of original rice,” he said.

According to Apriyanto, the same appearance of the substitute rice was aimed at accelerating the adjustment of its consumption. “People’s first impression is from its look and its taste,” he said.

Contacted separately, Wibowo Eko Putro, the East Java Agriculture Council chairman, said that the cassava flour was selected to produce this rice-substitute because of the high cassava production in East Java. In 2010, for example, East Java ranked the highest in Indonesia for cassava production, about 3.642 million tons per year. “The center for the mocaf-rice development contributed around Rp5 billion to the effort,” said Eko.

The development of the mocaf is also intended to reduce East Java’s dependency on wheat imports which amounts to about 7 million tons this year.

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