Research as “Backbone” of Palm Oil Industry

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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.

palm oil research
Source: LPPM-ITB

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.

Semakin majunya perkembangan zaman dari era tradisional sampai ke era modern membuktikan bahwa riset merupakan bagian penting, bahkan menjadi driver yang membawa berbagai kemajuan dalam seluruh aspek kehidupan.

Sejarah kemajuan abad dimulai pada era revolusi industri pada tahun 1760-1814, periode tersebut membawa revolusi bagi kemajuan kehidupan manusia. Revolusi tersebut dipicu oleh inovasi-inovasi yang dihasilkan dari hasil riset atau penelitian di bidang pertanian, manufaktur, pertambangan, transportasi, dan teknologi. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa riset dapat dikatakan sebagai tulang punggung pembangunan yang menentukan keberhasilan suatu industrialisasi.

Perkembangan industri sawit di Indonesia juga tidak terlepas dari riset yang dilakukan secara berkesinambungan. Para peneliti sawit yang bermula dari AVROS (1916-1957), kemudian menjadi Research Institute The Sumatera Planters Association/RISPA (1957-1968), lalu menjadi Balai Penelitian Perkebunan Medan/BPPM (1968-1987), kemudian menjadi Pusat Penelitian Perkebunan (1987-1993), dan sejak tahun 1993 sampai sekarang menjadi Pusat Penelitian Kelapa Sawit (PPKS).

PPKS sebagai lembaga penelitian spesifik kelapa sawit di Indonesia, telah banyak menghasilkan inovasi-inovasi baik di bidang teknologi budidaya, produk hilir maupun sosial ekonomi. Inovasi tersebut juga telah membawa Indonesia menjadi “raja minyak sawit” karena sebagai produsen minyak sawit terbesar dunia, sekaligus juga  turut andil dalam mengembangkan industri sawit nasional menjadi megasektor seperti sekarang ini.

Kegiatan riset bukan pekerjaan yang singkat, namun pekerjaan yang terus berlanjut dengan waktu yang sangat panjang. Terlebih pada industri sawit, riset terencana dan struktur dari aspek hulu hingga hilir memegang peranan yang penting untuk mengoptimal potensi tanaman sawit sehingga dapat terus berkontribusi pada pencapaian target tujuan SDGs.

Selain itu, riset sawit juga menjadi “jangkar” bagi Indonesia untuk tetap mempertahankan posisi sebagai negara penghasil minyak sawit terbesar di dunia dan nantinya secara bertahap diharapkan menjadi referensi bagi industri minyak nabati global. Namun, tantangan yang dihadapi oleh industri sawit ke depan akan semakin berat. Untuk itu, kegiatan riset tidak boleh berhenti untuk terus mengembangkan sawit sebagai komoditas yang berdaya saing dan berkelanjutan. Oleh karena itu untuk menunjang kegiatan riset tersebut, maka diperlukan dukungan dana yang memadai dan kontinyu.

Dalam industri perkebunan kelapa sawit, Badan Pengelolaan Dana Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit (BPDPKS) yang bertugas untuk menghimpun, mengelola dan menyalurkan dana sawit, dimana salah satu pemanfaatan dana sawit tersebut disalurkan untuk mendukung kegiatan riset dalam rangka pengembangan industri sawit nasional. Sampai saat ini, BPDPKS sudah bekerja sama dengan 42 lembaga litbang yang melibatkan sebanyak 662 peneliti senior dan 346  mahasiswa. BPDPKS juga sudah mendanai kegiatan riset sekitar 201 penelitian. Penyaluran dana riset BPDPKS tahun ini mencapai Rp 28.4 miliar selama periode Februari-September 2020.

palm oil research
Source: LPPM-ITB

Salah satu program penguatan riset sawit yang digagas oleh BPDPKS adalah Grant Riset Sawit sejak tahun 2015. Tujuan dari program ini adalah untuk penguatan, pengembangan, peningkatan, pemberdayaan penelitian di bidang perkebunan dan industri kelapa sawit nasional, agar tercipta sinergitas penelitian baik di sektor hulu maupun hilir sehingga dapat mewujudkan industri sawit naisonal yang berkelanjutan dan berdaya saing.

Pada tanggal 20 Oktober 2020, BPDPKS melaksanakan Webinar Pekan Riset Sawit Indonesia 2020 untuk memaparkan hasil yang telah dicapai para peneliti sawit. Webinar secara resmi dibuka oleh Dr. Musdhalifah Machmud mewakili Menteri Koordiinator Bidang Perekonomian. Dr. Musdhalifah menyampaikan bahwa Kemenko Perekonomian sangat mendukung kegiatan pengembangan dan penelitian riset kelapa sawit sehingga diharapkan dapat melahirkan inovasi-inovasi baru yang dapat segera diimplementasikan dan dimanfaatkan oleh para pelaku sawit sehingga turut meningkatkan kesejahteraan masyarakat.

Dalam kesempatan yang sama, Dr. Tungkot Sipayung selaku Direktur Utama PASPI, juga berpesan bahwa riset yang menghasilkan inovasi merupakan “alat” untuk “memanen” potensi manfaat yang lebih besar dan berkualitas dari industri sawit. Situasi pandemi Covid-19 seperti saat ini, juga menjadi momen bagi para periset untuk menghasilkan inovasi teknologi budidaya atau produk berbasis sawit yang mampu menjadi solusi bagi para pelaku industri atau manusia di seluruh dunia untuk beradaptasi dan menghadapi pandemi.

Dalam webinar tersebut, juga menghadirkan sebanyak 19 peneliti sawit yang memaparkan hasil penelitian dan pengembangan mereka terkait kelapa sawit dalam panel diskusi. Riset tersebut mencakup beberapa bidang antara lain: Bioenergi, Agricultural Practices, Biomaterial dan Pangan/Kesehatan, Waste Management, Sosial Ekonomi, dan Supply Chain. Riset tersebut diharapkan dapat mampu memberikan solusi terhadap berbagai persoalan yang dihadapi oleh industri kelapa sawit saat ini, seperti produktivitas/efisiensi, kesejahteraan petani, sustainability dan awareness terhadap lingkungan, dan inovasi produk hilir atau teknologi budidaya/teknologi pengolahan.

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