Collaboration with Oxford University, University of Queensland, Nottingham University and USAID on far-ranging projects

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted all aspects of people’s lives, especially for those with lower economic status who earn their income daily and those who lost their jobs as an effect of COVID-19. The presence of the pandemic limits the activities of the public and confines them to their homes to avoid crowds. Daily workers are unable to fulfill their lives’ necessities. What if this is happens around us? How should we act to help each other and enliven economy in the smallest scale? On the other side, for the middle economic class, the pandemic does not impact them heavily economy-wise. To fulfill their needs, they can rely on online shopping. This method is seen as less helpful to the surrounding community’s economy. In this case, how do we create awareness towards each other, to work together in reducing the load of those around our neighborhood? How should we create an economic rotation system and local food chain to help those who live around us? Antonya Rumondang Sinaga, SE, MM, lecturer of IPB University’s Vocational School presents a simple solution to implement a Local Food System during the pandemic. This solution is her creation with Prof Bill Bellotti, Food System Programme Director in the University of Queensland and Dr John Ingram, IFSTAL (Interdisciplinary Food Systems Teaching and Learning) Programme Leader in the University of Oxford. Antonya explains that the implementation of this simple Local Food System support local business by holding transactions with local small and medium-sized enterprises or acquaintances so that the rotation of money is maintained locally. Besides that, another method would be local self-sufficiency. This is done by independently planting simple plants for household needs (example: kitchen spices, organic vegetables) or by keeping livestock like laying hens. The next step is to increase cross-self-sufficiency like barter of produce with the smallest community scale (between neighbors). She further explains that maintaining a garden together in the smallest community scale will be useful to personally separate organic and non-organic waste, make compost from the organic waste and discard non-organic waste properly and wisely. Reducing the use of plastic in the household and always remembering “Refuse, Reuse, and Recycle” when a plastic bag is offered is also important. Another aspect of this local food system is the diversification of staple foods. Replacing rice with cassava, potato, or sweet potatoes will be beneficial. Avoid panic buying which will only lead to food loss and food waste. Last, it’s important to reduce the consumption of ultra-processed food.

When discussing the topic of COVID-19, it is equally important to be prepared for future outbreaks as well. In regards to this anticipation, the government of Belitung Regency held an online meeting IPB Department of Biology, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and the University of Nottingham, England, on June 4th, 2020 to formulate a joint research. This forum was attended by the board of IPB University’s Biology Department, the board of IPB University, the board of Belitung Regency’s Government, and several representatives from England: Dr Jason Feehily (Director of Knowledge Exchange), Dr Bagus Muljadi (Director of Indonesia Doctoral Training Partnership), Dr Sally Zhou (Asia Business Centre UoN), and Ms Rebekah King (Communication Officer Indonesia Doctoral Training Partnership). In the meeting, a partnership between the three parties in the form of a joint research named “Resilience Against Pandemic” was discussed. This collaborative project was aimed to find the best regional resilience model towards the possibility of a pandemic in the future. Dr Miftahudin, Head of IPB University’s Biology Department explains that the involvement of both national and international researchers in this project would give it a multidiscipline approach in realizing formulating the region’s resilience. He expressed his hopes of Belitung becoming a comprehensive model region of resilience towards a pandemic. He further explains that the project will be funded by various institutions, from the Indonesian government, the British government, universities, the local government, to industries in the effort of down streaming the result of the research later on. All three parties involved in the meeting have expressed their readiness and will soon prepare details of the research matrix and the needed documents. Dr Miftahudin again expresses his hope for a pandemic-resilient Belitung in the future.

Another international collaboration took place this month, IPB University’s Rector, Prof Dr Arif Satria, signed memorandum of understanding between IPB University and USAID Key Partner Initiative, virtually on June 2nd, 2020. The focus of the agreed program in this partnership is the Entrepreneurship Thematic Student Community Service Program (KKN-T). Director of Learning and Student Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Culture of Republic of Indonesia, Prof drh Aris Junaidi, PhD, through the Directorate of Learning and Student Affairs, supports the KKN-T program fully as one of the national priority programs. He further states that entrepreneurship is part of the eight programs which students are encouraged to partake in to increase their competence outside of their main study program. In this opportunity, Prof Arif expressed that partnership moment is an important step to speed up the process of public transformation. It is the duty of those in higher education, with more opportunities of learning, to share the knowledge learnt with all layers of society, especially in villages. This learning process does not act as a one-way channel, but a reciprocal relationship between the local communities and higher education. In the same opportunity, Lensi Mursida as Chief of Party, Key Initiative, mentions that IPB University is a very important partner with a strategic role in supporting the general agricultural field for Key Partner Initiative. From the partnership between IPB University and USAID–Key Partners Initiative, it is hoped that higher education can play a bigger role in communities and villages to ensure that the development and advancement of villagers is strived for in its actuality. 

Published Date : 25-Feb-2019

Resource Person : Dr. Ir. Arief Daryanto, DipAgEc, MEc

Keyword : IPB University Vocational School, Arief Daryanto, Global Food System, Nutrition Challenges, Key Issues in Food System Thinking, Policy Intervention in the Food System