The inhabitants of Rote Island in the southeastern Indonesian archipelago nickname the lontar palm (Borassus Flabelifer) as the “tree of life” because of the plant’s versatility. The tall, drought-resistant trees are native to the island and they’ve been ingrained into the Rotenese lifestyle, economy and culture for many centuries. Their sturdy trunks and fan-like leaves are made into building materials, various tools and household items, hats, and even musical instruments. However, the lontar palm’s greatest gift might be its prodigious sap, which has served as a significant food source for many generations of Rotenese.
Recognized as one of the most efficient sugar-producing plants, a mature lontar tree can produce hundreds of liters of sap annually and is productive for about three decades. The ‘juice’ can be consumed fresh, or boiled down into syrup or hardened into sugar patties. It can also be fermented into an alcoholic beverage.
The Organic Lontar Nectar produced by PMA is the boiled down sap tapped from lontar palms in organic-certified areas in Rote. As with our other organic offerings, the production of our Organic Lontar Nectar follows a very rigorous process that ensures high quality, consistency and traceability of the final product.
The sap is harvested and collected daily, then it’s carefully inspected before being pasteurized and evaporated without any additives in our modern, hygienic, HACCP-certified processing facility. The resulting thick golden syrup is carefully filtered and cooled to maintain its color, aroma and nutrient content.
Nutritionally, lontar nectar is gluten-free, high in vitamin C and has a low glycemic index. Flavorwise, it has a faint citrus profile and mild, honey-like flavor. However, unlike honey, lontar nectar is 100% vegan. Our lontar syrup is not only a healthier alternative to regular table sugar, it can also replace other liquid sweeteners on a 1:1 ratio.
PMA is proud to bring this traditional sweetener to the global market using modern production and quality-control methods. Our production also aims to improve the welfare of the local Rote communities. In addition to their farming skills, the men are also employed for their climbing-and-sap-tapping ability (a traditional skill handed down through the generations in Rote). Many of the women are also trained to work in our processing facility, further contributing to their family’s income and the local economy. Lontar palm farming is highly sustainable and environmentally-friendly and it never involves the slash-and-burn tactics of the palm oil industry.