EDU FACT JUNE – Rice? Other kind of it are nice too!

Talking about cereals, did you know what kinds of crops are included in cereals and what is the main characteristic of cereal? Cereals are grain-producer plants, and every day we use it as a staple food. Wheat, rice, and corn are examples of cereal plants that we used as staples. The main characteristic of cereal contains high nutrition of starch. Starch is source energy for a human. In addition to these types of plants, there is another type of cereal that not many people concerneded about this plant and is highly expected as an alternative food, feed, and industrial raw materials for the future. That plant is sorghum.

The plants which are relatively resistant to the dry environment is not native to Indonesia, but originated from Africa. In Indonesia, Sorghum is widely known by the term ‘jagung gandrung’ or ‘centelan’. In Indonesia, sorghum cultivation still develops in many areas, especially in dry climate regions, such as East Java and Eastern of Indonesia. Sorghum appearance ((at a glance)) is similar to corn crops. Both of them have straight-long leaves. The different of them are the existence of flower bunches at the top of sorghum plant, and those bunches will bloom if panicles are fully loaded. We can obtain sorghum seed from those bunches. Sorghum seed is widely used as cattle feed currently. Only about 6% of sorghum grains are traded as a food source for human. However, the nutritional content of sorghum isn’t bad for human consumption. Moreover, many research has proven sorghum grain  nutrition has many advantages for human body

The content of carbohydrate sorghum is similar to other types of grains. The content of sorghum protein is higher than other types of cereals. Sorghum contains 43% protein requirement per day. The high content of vitamin B-2 in sorghum helps metabolism process so carbohydrates and nutrients gained from food easier to absorbed and changed into energy. The fiber content reaches 48% can maintain our digestive health and prevent constipation. Sorghum also contains many antioxidants, such as tannins, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, etc. These antioxidants prevent aging and reduce the risk of cancer. Another advantage of sorghum is the absence of gluten content, therefore sorghum could be the alternative food for CELIAC sufferers. CELIAC is an allergic disease to gluten content in wheat-base food, such as bread, fettucini, etc. However, the sugar content in sorghum grains is quite high, so diabetics cannot consume them in large quantities.

Not only grain of sorghum plant can be utilized for human-being, but stem and leaves sorghum also can be utilized too. Sugar content on the stem is high enough, so it can be used as a sugar source such as sugarcane. Owing to the fact that sorghum is primarily used in the production of sorghum molasses and sorghum syrup. It’s stem can be used too in the production of alcoholic beverages and even biofuels around the world. This biofuel might be an alternative energy in future as fossil fuel oil substitute. Sorghum leaves can be used as biomass and herbivor feed. The farmer in NTT also has utilized root and stem sorghum as handicraft.

However, currently use of sorghum is hampered by postharvest handling problems. Epidermis of sorghum grain content high content of tannin. Consequently, it causes the taste quite bitter. Besides, sorghum seeds are difficult to peel and require a special grinding machine. Therefore, its products on the market are still priced lower than other grain groups. Another challenge of sorghum development include lack of market guarantees and demand. It is necessary to disseminate information about the commodity cultivation of sorghum crops due to development sorghum at farming level is still not intensive which resulted in the lack of information and knowledge about sorghum commodity.

Although the utilization of sorghum is still constrained, support of government is needed such as sorghum included into one of the strategic commodities in the development of agribusiness and agro-industry system. Moreover, sorghum also could be used as staple food to decrease dependence of rice in our country.

So what’s your impression about this crop? There are a lot of benefits of the sorghum plant. This agricultural commodity promises many roles in the future, if it can be processed and put to good use by us. And are you agree that sorghum could replace rice as a staple food in the future?


  • Anonim. – . Klasifikasi dan Morfologi Tanaman Sorgum. Available at diakses tanggal 22 Mei pukul 08:33 WIB
  • Anonim. – . 7 Surprising Benefits of Sorghum. Available at diakses tanggal 22 Mei 2017 pukul 08.30 WIB
  • Sirappa, M.P. 2003. Prospek Pengembangan Sorgum Di Indonesia Sebagai Komoditas Alternatif untuk Pangan, Pakan, dan Ternak. Jurnal Litbang Pertanian, 22(4) : 133-140
  • Risnandar, Cecep., Priyowidodo, Titis. 2016. Biji Sorgum.  diakses pada tanggal 22 Mei 2017 pukul 08:24 WIB

Article by:
Ayman Abdan Syakuro – IOP 20
Lusi Wulan Safitri – IOP 20

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