The Mentawai Islands are a chain of about seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.
The true sago palm, Metroxylon sagu, is an extremely important food resource for the Mentawaian islanders featured in this video.
Sago palm is a tropical palm native to southeastern Asia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia.
It is also found in the Philippines, Thailand, Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra and the Solomon Islands.
The sago palm has traditionally provided a staple source of starch in it’s native range. It is also an important food resource in areas where it has been introduced.
While it is therefore an important food source over a wide range of tropical habitat, it is not a source food that comes without significant processing.
The above short video by filmmaker Rob Henry highlights the process required, as the sago palm is taken from the wild forest environment, broken down and carried away in woven pack-baskets.