Research as “Backbone” of Palm Oil Industry
The advancement of the times from the traditional era to the modern era proves that research is an important part, even a driver that brings various advances in all aspects of life.
The history of the revolution of that century started at revolution industry on 1760 – 1814, that period brought revolutionary progress for human. This revolution was generated by innovations resulting from the results of research in the fields of agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology. This shows that research as the backbone of development that determines the success of an industrialization.
In the development of palm oil industry in Indonesia, research’s also carried out on an ongoing basis. Oil palm researchers who started from AVROS (1916-1957), later became the Research Institute of The Sumatra Planters Association / RISPA (1957-1968), then became the Medan Plantation Research Center (Balai Penelitian Perkebunan Medan/ BPPM) (1968-1987), then became the Plantation Research Center (1987 -1993), and since 1993 until now has changed become Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institution/IOPRI (Pusat Penelitian Kelapa Sawit/PPKS).
IOPRI as research institution spesific of palm oil in Indonesia, has produced many innovations in the fields of cultivation technology, downstream products and socio-economics. This innovation also has brought indonesia as “king of palm oil” because as a bigest producer in global market, at the same time also taking part in developing national palm oil industry became megasector, like today.
The research activity is not a short-time job, but continuous work over a very long period of time. Especially in the oil palm industry, planned and structure research in upstream and downstream sectors, play an important role to optimalize the potention of palm oil to contribute achieving of the target of the SDG’s goals.
In addition, the oil palm research also become an “anchor” for Indonesia to maintain its position as the largest palm oil producing country in the world and it is hoped that it will gradually become a reference for the global vegetable oil industry. The challenges facing the oil palm industry in the future will be even more severe. For this reason, research activities must not stop to continue to develop palm oil as a competitive and sustainable commodity. Therefore, to support these research activities, adequate and continuous financial support is needed.
In the oil palm industry plantations, the Oil Palm Plantation Fund Management Agency (Badan Pengelola Dana Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit/BPDPKS) is tasked with collecting, managing and distributing palm oil funds, where one of the uses of the funds to support research of developing the national oil industry. Until now, BPDPKS has collaborated with 42 R & D institutions involving 662 senior researchers and 346 students. BPDPKS also has funded research activities about 201 researches. The distribution of BPDPKS research funds in this year has also reached IDR 28.4 billion in February-September 2020.
One of the strengthening research program that initiated by BPDPKS was Grant Palm Oil Research since 2015. This program as effort to make strenghthen, developing, increase empowerment plantations and national oil palm industry that sinergy each other in the upstream and the downstream sectors so that realizing sustainable oil palm plantations.
One of the programs to strengthen palm oil research initiated by BPDPKS is the Palm Oil Grant Research, which has been implemented since 2015. The goals of this program to strengthen, develop, enhance, empower research in the fields of plantations and the national palm oil industry, in order to create research synergy both in the upstream and downstream sectors, so that it to realize a sustainable and competitive national palm oil industry.
On 20th october 2020, BPDPKS conducted a webinar of Pekan Riset 2020 to present the research results or innovation product by palm oil researchers. This Webinar officially opened by Dr. Mushdalifah Machmud represented Coordinator Minister for Economic affairs. She also said that their ministry very supporting the development of esearch activities of palm oil, so that it is hoped that it can produce new innovations that can be immediately implemented and utilized by oil palm actors so that they will also improve the welfare of the community.
On the same occasion, Dr. Tungkot Sipayung as the President Director of PASPI, also advised that research that produces innovation is a “tool” to “harvest” greater potential and quality benefits from the palm oil industry. The current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic is also a moment for researchers to produce innovative such as cultivation technology or palm oil-based products that can be a solution for palm oil actors or global community o adapt and facing the pandemic.
In this webinar, there is 19 palm oil researchers presented who described their research results related palm oil on panel discussion. This research covers several fields, including : Bioenergy, Agricultural Practices, Biomaterial and Food/Health, Waste Management, Socio-Economic, and Supply Chain. This research is expected to be able to provide the solutions to various problems faced by the palm oil industry today, such as productivity/efficiency, farmer’s welfare, sustainability and awareness of the environment, and innovation of derivative product or cultivation technologi/processed technology.
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