Head of Balangan Agriculture Agency Rahmadi here on Tuesday said that the district has a large potential of porang plants (Amorphophallus muelleri Bl) and very profitable for farmers.
"Balangan is one of the largest porang plant producing districts in South Kalimantan. It has attracted the attention of big companies, such as PT Buana Alam Lestari from Japan, to directly buy porang processed products from farmers here," he said.
Besides being made into chips and flour, Rahmadi said, porang is also used as thickening agents in industry, including paper raw material, binders in tablet making, cosmetic ingredients, and many other benefits.
"For the first shipment, Balangan will dispatch 100 tons of dry chips to Japan with the option of contract extension if the products delivered are in good quality. Besides Japan, it also will be exported to Taiwan, Korea, and several countries in Europe," he pointed out.
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PT Buana Alam Lestari Operational Manager Hendry said the porang processed products to be shipped to Japan are in the form of dried chips by sunlight drying.
"It was a simple method that can be used by farmers, if using oven then it is in the industrial scale that need a large capital," he said.
The Agriculture Agency through Food Crops Section in the future will provide guidance, starting from cultivation of porang plants, post-harvest training, and cooperate with the South Kalimantan quarantine center so they both can jointly foster porang farmers until they export their product to overseas.
Chairman of the Indonesian National Porang Empowerment Association (ASPEPORIN) of South Kalimantan Jhoni Sulistianto assessed that the potential of porang in Balangan is very good, it even the largest contributor of porang plants in every week.
"The potential of porang in Balangan is extraordinary, even the planting area reaches 120 hectares, with a good purchase price of IDR8 thousand per kg," he said.
Balangan contributes 10 tons of porang shipment every week or 50 percent of the total shipment from Kalimantan.
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