Sorghum is a functional food known for its health benefits in preventing diseases associated with the immune, endocrine, nervous, digestive, and circulatory systems. This food source has significant economic potential if widely developed.
However, sorghum remains relatively unknown and less consumed than cultivated commodities like rice and corn.
In Bendung Village, Gunung Kidul Regency, many residents grow sorghum. Yet, only some know how to utilize their harvests to create processed food for widespread sale and consumption.
A group of UGM students transformed sorghum harvests into attractive food products by collaborating with homemakers, typically stay-at-home mothers.
Team leader Luthfita Keysha, along with her four colleagues–Arlita Tanzila, Elysa Umiati, and Zahra Raihananda–has empowered these housewives to engage in productive activities.
“We taught the homemakers in Bendung Village how to process sorghum into food products such as brownies and cookies due to the high interest among people of all ages in the community for these snack foods,” Keysha explained on Monday (October 30).
Keysha said that brownies and cookies were made using sorghum flour as their main ingredient.
The partial replacement of wheat flour with sorghum flour is expected to enhance the nutritional value of snacks across all age groups. Sorghum itself, she continued, is a promising choice for producing processed products.
“We see potential in sorghum, which contains around 11-13% protein and approximately 3.4% fat, with a carbohydrate content as good as that in rice,” she said.
Through training sessions for product creation and marketing, the homemakers in Bendung Village were provided a solution to become self-sufficient and productive in developing the economic potential of local resources, with the resulting benefits returning to the involved community.
“The women were very enthusiastic about the ongoing program. Throughout the program, they provided positive feedback and actively participated, contributing additional ideas during the implementation,” she highlighted.
Keysha hoped that sorghum production would flourish across the wider community and become an iconic product of Bendung Village.
Establishing a cooperative system and an internal organizational structure is part of a monitoring and evaluation program to make them self-sufficient.
Furthermore, a cooperative system operating synergistically with them will form a management system to oversee the legality of sorghum-processed products, one aspect of which is the issuance of a home industry food business license.
“We hope this effort will continue to be sustainable. We’re providing the Smart Integrated With Sorghum Handbook to our partners as an initiative to make this empowerment program a flagship product in Bendung Village,” Keysha expressed.
Eka Puji, the Secretary of Bendung Village Government, expressed appreciation and gratitude for the student team’s dedication to empowering groups of housewives to process sorghum into high-value economic products.
“The Bendung Village Government hopes that by restarting sorghum cultivation, this marks the beginning of the potential development of sorghum,” Puji said.
Author: Gusti Grehenson