Scholars and practitioners argue that one of the most important strategies on food security is improvement of food diversification. Food diversification can be understood as a wider presence of food variety over time. By diversifying food varieties overtime, it certainly will enhance the household access on food security dimensions. Food diversification already become an interesting and urgent public issue to reach food security among the high number of import commodities in Indonesia. “You have not eating yet until you eat rice” is a paradigm in Indonesian society that became an obstacle on facing food diversification. Now, there are many activities to increase the society awareness, but still have not solve this problem. Some problems that usually found is unpopular of local food product in Indonesia, especially for a young generation because of there are few number of local food product innovation.
The most critical point of this problem is used of the materials / ingredients of that food product. Most of food product that consumed by Indonesian people is an import product such as wheat flour, corn flakes and so on, so that will make new problem like increasing amount of the imported goods and effected to farmers welfare. Placed in a subtropical region, Indonesia has huge variety of food crops including tubers and roots crops such as cassava, sweet potato, taro, and so on. Larger parts of them are traditionally available and simply cultivated by peasants on rain fed and or dry land areas. However, technological progress, investment and utilization of them have been under-developed.
Most of people who consumed local food is the elderly. Here, the role of a food technologist takes a generation for change to improve the image of local food products. This task also applies to college students of food technology as the next generation that are required for successful of food diversification through a range of innovative products based on local commodities.
College students are the main target to promote food diversification, given its role as an agent of change that is expected to give a domino effect on other young people and the wider community in related about food diversification. Although theoretically most students is enough to understand the importance of diversification, but optimization is still very minimal realization. The trigger is not much different from the problems faced by the lay community. Therefore, efforts need to be done to attract the spirit of the college student.
Food diversification day be the first step that can facilitate and remind students to consume local food. The celebration can be started by giving rewards for traders who sold local food products and non-rice / non wheat continuously, as well as engaging them in a series of food diversification expo. Food diversification expo facilitates small traders, SMEs (Usaha Kecil dan Menengah), and Innovators (Students) to display their local food-based products. Food diversification expo is held in conjunction with a food walk which also campaigns for food diversification. In these activities provided a stand that specialized in providing food innovation and modifications to local food organoleptic acceptable and appreciated by the public, and has added value. In addition, these activities also involve regional student organizations to showcase local food products typical of their area.
HIMITEPA in collaboration with the Department to include the values of diversification within each lecture example requires students to produce a food product that is synergistic with the food diversification program on Integrated Practicum courses.
Another alternative is to make the publication of the benefit of diversification. Publication is done through posters or leaflets that circulated in each classroom and campus bulletin Area. Posters were made to be as communicative as possible and able to persuade the students.
Food diversification will be effective if each segment of university such as students, vendor, and university stake holder walk simultaneously to support it. If this program succeed in university so it won’t be impossible to improve the young generation as agent of change to diversify our food consumption.
by Yusuf Aufar Rahadiandy