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Rice and Papuan Food: For Economic Balance in Jayapura

by Senaman
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Jayapura – Papuans are less dependent on rice as their main source of food. They have a more diverse and healthy local food tradition, such as sago, yams, cassava, and cassava. Rice, which is usually consumed by people in cities, has displaced sago as a staple food in some areas, such as Merauke. However, many Papuans still maintain the habit of eating local foods and are less dependent on rice. Traditional Papuan foods other than rice include:

  1. Papeda: A Papuan specialty made from sago, it has a bland or tasteless flavor, and is usually served with yellow fish sauce, grilled fish, or clear fish sauce.
  2. Cheating Shrimp: A Papuan specialty made from freshwater prawns, it has a fibrous meat texture with a sweet taste similar to lobster, and is usually served with papaya flowers or stir-fried kale.
  3. Manokwari Grilled Fish: A Papuan specialty made from fish, it has a good flavor and is usually served with spices.
  4. Sago Caterpillar Satay: Papuan food made from sago worms, has a savory and sour taste, and is usually served with spices such as garlic and shallots.
  5. Sago Plate Cake: Papuan food made from sago, has a delicious flavor and is usually served with spices, and many more.

These traditional Papuan foods have unique flavors and are different from other traditional foods in Indonesia, and use local ingredients such as sago, fish, and seaworms.

However, this does not rule out the fact that farmers in Papua continue to grow rice to fulfill their rice needs. Head of the Food Security and Agriculture Office of Jayapura City, Papua, Jean Rollo said that the rice consumption needs of the population in Papua reach 50 thousand tons per year.

It Is calculated that on average per capita per year, one person can consume 120 kilograms of rice per year, and with the population of Jayapura City around 365 thousand people, it is assumed that rice consumption reaches 50 thousand tons per year. According to Jean Rollo, currently, farmers in Jayapura City can only meet nine percent of the total needs of the people in Jayapura City, while the rest, utilize rice distributed from outside the island of Papua.

For this reason, the government hopes that farmers can utilize the currently available and adequate land to grow rice, this is to meet the needs of rice in their respective areas.

Currently, there are 1,100 hectares of land available in West Koya and 600 hectares in East Koya, but in East Koya farmers have difficulty growing rice due to the lack of water availability in the area. Thus farmers are utilizing the land for other agriculture such as fisheries.

While farmers in West Koya and East Koya, Muara Tami District also prefer to grow fruits such as watermelon, but also chilies, and onions to meet market needs in the area

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