Taiwan oil millet touted as a potential superfood

EASY CROP: A farmer said the plant, which looks similar to wheat, yields three harvests per year and despite its resilience, needs to be protected from birds and weeds

Taipei Times
Date: Apr 14, 2020
By Chen Hsien-yi and Dennis Xie / Staff reporter, with staff writer

Taiwanese oil millet basks in the sunligh in Taitung County yesterday.
Photo: Chen Hsien-yi, Taipei Times

Taiwanese oil millet, an endemic plant species, could be a superfood, providing high nutritional value to humans and livestock, Academia Sinica researcher Hsing Yue-ie (邢禹依) said yesterday.

Eccoilopus formosanus is extremely resilient, able to survive droughts, colds and salinized soil, said Hsing, who is also a professor of agronomy at National Taiwan University.

It is easier to grow than most major high-yield crops — such as rice, wheat, corn, cassava or sorghum — the production of which is reliant on heavy irrigation, herbicides and fertilization, but Taiwanese oil millet does not require that much effort, she said.

Some bed-and-breakfast owners in Taitung participating in her research used the plant and yeast used by Aboriginal cultures to make bread and bagels, which were widely favored by guests, she said.

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