Summer Course on Oil Palm Industry in Indonesia

Bogor Agricultural Univesity (IPB)  in Collaboration with The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, University of Jambi, University of Tadulako and University of Goettingen, Germany, held a Summer Course of Sustainable Oil Palm Industry in Indonesia in 20 November – 9 December 2017. The summer course was opened by the Vice Foreign Minister and Vice Rector for Resources and Issue Studies of IPB on 20 November 2017 in the Nusantara Room, at The Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At the opening of the Palm Oil Course 2017, the Vice Foreign Minister, Dr. A.M. Fachir underlined Indonesia’s commitment to the sustainable palm oil implementation. One of the important initiatives is through the CRC990 establishment, the Indonesian-German research consortium which has been carried out since 2012.

The research is focused on three aspects related to palm oil namely environment, biodiversity and socio-economic. The Vice FM also affirmed that Oil Palm Course is one of the important initiatives in the dissemination process of sustainable palm oil.

This Oil Palm Summer Course 2017 was held for 3 weeks divided as 1 week in Bogor and 2 weeks in Jambi and attended by 16 foreign participants and Indonesian citizens. The participants included 8 (eight) German citizens, 1 (one) Italian citizen, 1 (one) Colombia citizen, 1 (one) Malaysian citizen representing an NGO from UK, and 5 (five) Indonesian citizens, with various backgrounds such as consultants, researchers, environmental activists, academicians and diplomats.

During the training, the participants were given lectures in class at IPB Bogor in the first week related to policies, findings and facts, organizational structure or palm oil companies in general as well as research and development related to palm oil. While in the next 2 weeks, they conducted field visits in Jambi and stay at palm oil farmers’ house from cooperatives which has obtained Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certifications.

The Participants also were given the opportunity to study various local cultural arts, such as Old Malay culture and anthropological aspects of the Anak Dalam tribe. Thus, the participants are expected to gain a comprehensive understanding related palm oil industry from smallholder perspective which certainly cannot be separated from the local culture aspects.

The foreign participants are expected to become the enlightened constituents of Indonesian palm oil industry. So far, in some European countries which is one of Indonesia’s main palm oil markets, there are often inaccurate information such as palm oil and deforestation issues, palm oil and carbon and water issues, or palm oil as a factor of biodiversity loss, which tends to be accepted by the communities with the wrong understanding and any such misleading will hamper Indonesian palm oil industry in the long term.