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会設立の背景    Background of establishing the Society





Background of establishing the Society

 The great importance of exploiting underutilized and nonutilized plant resources has been stressed by learned persons at every opportunity. Some of them have focused their special attention to sago palm as invaluable resources of starchy food, having deep concern about the possible food shortage in the world in future. Some others have emphasized the incomparable usefulness of this plant for the agricultural development of low-lying swampy areas of the tropics, since sago palm has high adaptability to such a condition that almost no other crops can grow without drainage or soil improvement.

 The general understanding on sago palm and its utilization has so far been very limited: at most, this plant grows wild in low-lying wetlands in the tropics, and the starch produced in its stem is a staple food upon which local people in these areas live. In recent years, however, considerable progress has been made in researches on sago palm itself and relevant environmental and socioeconomic conditions. In addition, there has been some progress in the area development programs which contain sago palm plantations. In spite of such progress, it has been further recognized that much remains unexplored regarding this underutilized plant resource.

 In regard to the production aspect of sago palm, the physiological mechanism of its accumulation of a large amount of starch is not fully elucidated. Various questions have yet to be answered: Is there any possibility of increasing starch productivity through breeding efforts ? Sago palm has a wide adaptability ranging from low-lying wetlands to dry lands in the tropics. What are the physiological and genetic mechanisms of such wide adaptability ? What is the mechanisms of its biological adaptation to highly-saline water logging ? A number of questions may also be raised concerning its utilization aspect. All these questions require extensive and intensive research activities and technological exploitation to answer.

  The issues and problems involved for the sago palm development, including production and utilization as well, are extensive and profound in nature, being interrelated with each other. Therefore, prerequisite is an interdisciplinary approach to the effective research and development program implementation. Toward this end, cooperative and even collective activities of relevant disciplines would be strongly required to harmonize and synchronize them.

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