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Question: What is sago?

Answer: Sago palm (Metroxylon sagu spp.) is an important resource in tropical Asia. It has been known in trade in South East Asia for at least 700 years. According to Burkill (1966), sago had been mentioned by Chinese writers in the 12th Century.

Sago palm is a huge palm storing high quantity of starch in its trunk. It is a hapaxantic (once-flowering) and soboliferous (suckering), pinnate-leaf palm which accumulates starch during its vegetative phase of growth. Sago palm is generally found in moist localities in tropical rainforest, and freshwater swamps of Southeast Asia, Melanesia and some high volcanic islands in Micronesia and Polynesia.

Sago starch which accumulates in the pitch of the palm, is an important food resource and industrial raw material used throughout the world. Of 2.6 million ha of sago palm plantation worldwide, about 2.4 million ha are found in Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea (Jong, 2001). While in Malaysia, there are about 68 000 ha of sago planted area which particularly in Mukah, Sarawak (Sarawak Agriculture Statistic 2001).

(Source: Craun Research Sdn Bhd Website, 21 Oct 2018)

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