You are currently viewing Against the dominance of seeds over tubers on the dining table

Most of the Indonesian people, when asked about the source of carbohydrates, say that rice and wheat are the most important. It cannot be denied that every day we are encouraged to eat these grains in the form of rice or bread. This article is a short thought about the dominance of seeds over tubers on the dining table in Indonesia.

Starting from the government program with self-independence in rice during the second president’s era to advertisements on television that always use rice as the main dish. If viewed from an ecology perspective, rice plants must grow in waterlogging (swamps). Meanwhile, not all islands in Indonesia have large swamp areas. Eventually, the area was cleared to be agricultural lands. These wetlands have decreased by 64% since the 1900s.

There is something even funnier, about wheat that we always consume like bread, noodles, biscuits, and others. Even though our wheat cropland is only the tip of the nail between the rice fields. Wheatland is very limited, including on the slopes of Bromo, Alahan Panjang, and several places in eastern Indonesia. However, you need to know that we have the fifth-largest flour factory in the world which imports raw materials, especially from Australia.

Wheat crop |


But actually, Indonesia is rich in other sources of carbohydrates in the form of tubers. These carbohydrate sources contain lots of fiber which is beneficial for our body. One of them is the canna tuber (Canna edulis Kerr.).

Canna plants generally grow wild in gardens or yards. But some people breed this plant. Including areas in East Java, Central Java, West Java, and Bali.

This plant has beautiful flowers because it is still in the same family as lilies. Canna plants do not need much water to survive, so they can be found in areas that tend to be dry.

You can breed canna plants using generative (seeds) or vegetative (tubers). However, vegetative methods can better maintain the genetic purity of quality canna. According to Balitbangtan Sulbar, the vegetative method is done by cutting the tubers that have one or two shoots. Then bury them at a depth of 15 cm and a distance of 50 cm between tubers.

Canna indica tubers | Photo: Blumenrohr /


Canna tuber which also contains high-quality starch. The carbohydrate content in ganyong reaches 94% of dry weight. According to a study by Harmayani et al., ganyong starch contains a total of 93.30% starch, 42.49% amylose, and 50.90% amylopectin. Canna starch is very suitable for vermicelli and cendol because it has low water binding capacity and swelling power.

Canna starch is superior in nutritional value and is easy to digest. However, the utilization of this starch is very limited because information about this is very rare. The processed product of canna is still less famous than wheat or rice products.

In Indonesia, knowledge about the properties of canna starch and its processing is still very limited. Canna tubers are usually only boiled until cooked. Then it is consumed as a filling snack or snack. Whereas ganyong can be processed into various potential processed foods.

The government has been moving in food diversification so that it does not depend on rice and wheat. It is better to enrich our diet with a variety of native food sources.

Moreover, growing and consuming local tubers such as canna might reduce our fantastic imports of rice (2 million tons) and wheat (9 million tons).

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Rahadian Yudo Hartantyo

Lecturer. Illustrator. Content writer.



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