SEAMEO BIOTROP celebrated its 52nd anniversary on 26-27 February 2020 by bringing up the theme "Learning and Sharing Innovations for Community", which emphasises the Centre's focus to disseminate various BIOTROP excellent innovations to community as well as to build and strengthen the support of stakeholders at national and regional levels in promoting the real values of tropical biology in Southeast Asia.
Dr Irdika Mansur, BIOTROP's Director, in his remarks, conveyed that the Centre has contributed not only to the development of higher education, but also to primary and secondary education. "The research results could easily be applied by vocational students and the general public, not only as literature for higher education. For example, BIOTROP conducts various studies on urban agriculture to find best practices to be implemented by the community," he said.
Dr Irdika also added that vocational schools (SMKs) would be the spearhead in agricultural development in Indonesia. For this reason, BIOTROP has fostered more than 100 SMKs in Indonesia to support the SMK Revitalisation and Food Security programmes, in collaboration with the Directorate of SMK Development. At the initiative of Dr Didik Suhardi who was then serving as Secretary-General of the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, BIOTROP has been establishing a seasonless fruit development programme (SMARTS-BE programme) targeting schools and has trained and built orchards in 36 Agricultural SMKs throughout Indonesia since 2018.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, the Minister of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia, represented by Prof Dr Arif Satria (Rector of IPB University, as well as the Governing Board Member of SEAMEO BIOTROP from Indonesia), stated that in the 4.0 technology era which is based on big data technology, the Centre has active roles in enriching learning material for students. BIOTROP introduces school garden technology, hydroponics, aquaponics, SMARTS-BE, Teaching Factory and entrepreneurial expertise. IPB University and BIOTROP strengthen their cooperation through various collaborative activities in the field of programmes and the use of laboratory facilities, information dissemination on research publications, and joint movement on Indonesia's biodiversity conservation.
The Mayor of Bogor, Dr Bima Arya, in his remarks, stated that BIOTROP has contributed to the planning of Bogor city to be an environmentally-friendly city, while continuing the community development. Collaboration between Bogor city and the Centre includes the establishment of the Centre as Bogor Community Learning Park, a million-parks city planning, entrepreneurial skill development, as well as teacher training programmes for schools in solid waste management, urban agriculture, school gardens and mushroom cultivation.
Deputy Director for Programme of SEAMEO Secretariat, Bangkok, Dr Wahyudi, in his remarks, conveyed that BIOTROP is increasingly strengthening its commitment to developing creative innovation and integrity as a leading tropical biology research institution through research, training, dissemination and collaboration with the potential partners.
On this occasion, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Secretariat General of the Indonesian Ministry of Education of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of Padang City was carried out. BIOTROP also signed six MoUs with the Government of Bogor City, Tropical Horticulture Study Center (PKHT) of IPB University, PT Maligi Permata Industrial Estate, Nusantara Nature Conservation Foundation (YKAN/TNC), IPB Alumni Association, and the Padang City Cooperative and SME Office.
Two new BIOTROP programmes were also launched at the event, namely Agro-ecoeduwisata and Coastal and Marine Bioresources Exploration: from Discovery to Innovation. Agro-ecoeduwisata is a collaborative program between the Centre and PKHT which aims to introduce agricultural and environmental science and technology through inclusive visits that adopt elements of education and ecotourism. Meanwhile, Coastal and Marine Bioresources Exploration: from Discovery to Innovation is an exploration programme for marine and coastal biological resources to find and create new innovations for the benefit of the community, especially in the Southeast Asian region.
The two-day celebration was enlivened by the Talk shows and Exhibition on Tropical Biology Education and Community Empowerment. Talk shows with the theme of hydroponics, aquaponics, edible mushroom cultivation, plant tissue culture, potted fruit plants and essential oil featured the Centre's researchers and staff as resource persons, namely Riana Hartati, S.Si, Shella Marlinda, MSi, Samsul Ahmad Yani, S.Si, Dr Erina Sulistiani, Dr Supriyanto and Jonner Situmorang, MSi.
The exhibition featured BIOTROP's products and technologies, which were the results of superior achievements over the past 52 years. The exhibition was also participated by five fostered SMKs (SMK 2 Subang, SMK 1 Pacet, SMK 4 Bogor, SMK 57 Jakarta and SMK Wikrama), PKHT, the BIOTROP Women's Association and the Bogor Women's Farmers Group.
As a tribute to senior researchers and staff, BIOTROP's Director also presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Prof Dr Okky Setyawati Dharmaputra, Dr Soekisman Tjitrosemito, Dr Sri Sudarmiyati Tjitrosoedirdjo and Dr Supriyanto, as well as the dharma bhakti badge award to 72 staff for their high dedication to the Centre.