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Bogor Agricultural University Develops New ‘Super' Garlic with help of Bank of Indonesia

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Garlic contains compounds with effective medicinal properties and is also used in the many recipes.  One of the most important ingredients in all of the culinary arts, garlic yet seems to confront attempts to define it in any but the most literal terms. In that sense, then, garlic, like onions, shallots, and leeks, is a member of the lily family. Its strong and unique flavor and aroma make it a mainstay of cuisines around the world, a nearly indispensable ingredient in just about every form of Asian, European, African, Latin American and North American cooking. 

Garlic grows underground in the form of a bulb. Its long green shoots produce flower stalks called scapes, which can be eaten.  Covered in an inedible papery skin, the bulb, or head, is comprised of individual sections called cloves. These cloves are themselves enclosed in a paperlike skin, and the pale yellowish flesh within is the part of the garlic that is used in cooking. 

When eaten raw, garlic has a powerful, pungent flavor. For that reason, it's customary to cook it in some way before serving it, which mellows the flavor considerably. It's generally used as a flavoring ingredient in recipes rather than as the main ingredient itself, although roasted garlic  can be eaten as a spread or condiment. 

The payoff on growing garlic can be big for those who grow “gourmet” garlic. There are 3 types of gourmet garlic, also called hardneck garlic. They are Rocambole, Purplestripe and Porcelain, and once you have experienced their superior flavor, you’ll never want to go back to ordinary garlic again. That’s why customers are willing to pay high prices to get their favorite varieties. Another grower and customer favorite is Elephant garlic, whose large, mild cloves which commands higher prices. In good soil, an acre of Elephant garlic can yield 7,000 Kg. It is very hard to lose a crop of garlic crop, as it tolerates a wide range of soil and weather conditions. That’s why some grower’s  call garlic the “mortgage lifter.” 

The Surakarta branch of the Bank of Indonesia has initiated the development of a "super" garlic variety in Karanganyar regency, in Central Java, in a bid to help reduce imports of the commodity. The new garlic variety is being developed in Kalisoro subdistrict in the regency's Tawangmangu district. 

BI Surakarta Head Bandoe Widiarto said the super garlic was the result of an innovation in chromosome multiplication method by a garlic expert at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) and the Taruna Tani Maju farmers group in Tawangmangu. 

Bandoe added “Two trials have been held. We are confident that this Super variety can reduce our dependence on imported garlic”. 

Indonesia heavily relies on imported garlic, with the Agriculture Ministry's estimate showing 503,600 tons of consumption against 21,000 tons of local  production in 2016. 

Bandoe said the Super variety was developed from the existing Tawangmangu Baru variety, with the central bank facilitating the development of the Tawangmangu Super over the last two years. 

Taruna Tani Maju, Chairman Bejo Supriyanto says that 600 kilograms of Tawangmangu Baru garlic could produce 18 tons per hectare of fresh garlic, while the Tawangmangu Super could produce about 20 tons per hectare. 

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