The island of Papua is a region rich in natural biodiversity. One of them is the Pokem of the Numfor islands or the wheat of Papua as a rice substitute food that has a very high nutrient content.
Pokem is a plant (Latin: Pennisetum sp) is one of the typical foods that exist in the region of Papua. It is rare to find wheat varieties (Indonesia: Jawawut) cultivated by ethnic groups in Papua, except those in Numfor and Warkapi areas (Manokwari area). (kebudayaan.kemdikbud.go.id)
Pokem plants or millet (Setaria italica sp) is a kind of cereal plants are commonly found in the Numfor islands. Pokem plants include five generations, namely Panicum, Setaria, Echinochloa, Pennisetum, and Paspalum, all of which belong to the Paniceae family. The types of millet are found in Papua, including species Setaria Italica (Pokem tail tiger) and Pennisetum Glaucum (Pokem tail cat).
The people of Numfor island has long known and consume this Pokem plant since the Dutch colonial era. In fact, Pokem serves as an alternative food for substitute taro, petatas (sweet potato), cassava, green beans, sago, aibon (mangrove fruit), and rice. Pokem Numfor Island can also be processed by local residents into the staple food for pregnant women. Pokem can be processed into porridge as an additional food.
Pokem Food can serve as a source of carbohydrates for babies food needs. In fact, the typical plant of this Numfor island can be a mainstay sector agribusiness in the future. The cultivation of Pokem crops must be continuously carried out by the relevant agencies as one of the national food security commodities, especially for the local people of Numfor Island.
Although most ordinary people only know sago as a staple food for Papuans, residents Local ethnic of Biak Papua has made wheat as a variety of food sources for the fulfillment of carbohydrates for the body. Millet contains higher carbohydrates, which is 74.16 percent compared to wheat (Triticum sp.) by 69 percent. This indicates that millet has potential as a functional food source, especially as a source of energy.
The content of special nutrients in Pokem (Wheat Numfor) in accordance with the results of research Cendrawasih University, Jayapura, that is a plant of Pokem grain Numfor has active compounds content per 100 mg Pokem, namely fat 2.69 percent, carbohydrates 74.16 percent, iron (Fe) 121, 63 mg, and vitamin A 600 IU. However, there is a weakness in Pokem because it contains trace elements that are not needed in the human body, among others, Hg, Cu, and As. These elements will affect the quality of food production to be consumed by the community. However, these weaknesses can be minimized with technology in the field of food management. The people of Numfor themselves have known the technique to overcome this. (papua.antaranews.com).
Keywords: Papua, West Papua, foods, Pokem, Numfor Island, Papuans, tradition, food security, natural biodiversity, culture
Sakhiyatun K (MaCDIS Researcher)