Therefore, she felt challenged to find the seeds in East Flores.
“So I started looking for the seeds from village to village. Something pushed me to keep going.
“And I found out that sorghum was still being cultivated by some farmers who lived in remote areas far away from roads and with bad electricity.”
It was not an easy task to convince others to preserve the crop, she said, as they were used to eating rice and did not see the necessity to plant and consume it.
Over time, people understand the nutritional benefits of consuming sorghum as well as the economic benefits of planting it.
Today, about 1,000 people, mostly female farmers, are involved in sorghum cultivation in about eight regencies in East Nusa Tenggara.
President Joko Widodo visited the province last June and was impressed with how locals cultivate the cereal.
He is even convinced that sorghum should be a national staple food to reduce people’s reliance on rice or wheat.
It would also reduce Indonesia’s dependence on wheat exports which have been affected by increased uncertainty due to climate change and the Ukraine war.
“We want to have lots of (food) alternatives, lots of choices that we can cultivate in our country (for the purpose of) food diversification and food ingredient alternatives.
“(So) we don’t only depend on rice. Instead, we can have corn, sago and sorghum, which is our ancient crop,” said Mr Widodo, who is also popularly known as Jokowi, when visiting a sorghum field recently.
In August, Jokowi instructed his ministers and relevant officials to draw up a roadmap for Indonesia’s sorghum production.
Analysts CNA spoke to believed that sorghum could be a solution to the country’s depleting rice stocks which forces the government to import.
This month, the government decided to import 200,000 tons of rice to replenish the state logistics agency (Bulog) rice stocks that have been depleted.