On Friday 15th of March Pak Arief Darjanto, Dean IPB Vocational School and partner of VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) visited our location in Velp. During a meeting with Peter van Dongen, Harry Ankone, Marco Verschuur, Albertien Kijne and Tjallie Botden-Scheltinga, they discussed the developments related to Technical Vocational Education and Training in Indonesia and the possible cooperation between our institutes. After a picture moment and lunch they continued their discussion about cooperation in master programs.
IPB Vocational School is interested to develop professional master programs in the area of our master Agricultural Production Chain Management (APCM). In a meeting with Marco Verschuur, Albertien Kijne, Peter vd Meer, Arrita Suwarno and Tjallie Botden-Scheltinga it was agreed that because of the sense of urgency at Forestry oriented companies like palm oil, sugar palm etc. and urgency by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (who visited VHL in December 2018), there would be a unique possibility to create a joint APCM master in the field of Forest Chain to start. Pak Arief will investigate scholarship possibilities at the companies and the joint program will be included by Arrita in the capacity building paragraph of the Memorandum of Understanding between WUR and the Ministry of Environment and Forestry where VHL will be mentioned as sub-contractor.
At the end of April, beginning of May 2019, Pak Arief will visit VHL again with some colleagues to discuss the master cooperation in more detail.
In the week of March 18, Euridice Leyequien (Professor of Management of Forested Landscapes) and Steven Starmans did their best in Central Java to convince the RVO officer (SDG Partnership subsidy) Kris Okker and the agricultural councilor of Indonesia, Louis Beijer, about the urgency for our Sugar and Steam project that we submitted together with the NGO Aid Environment and the Indonesian company Aliet Green. The project acquisition is in the final phase of approval and gives substance to the Sustainable Development Goals 2 (ending hunger), 8 (decent jobs and economic growth) and 17 (partnerships for the goals).
The Indonesian partner company Aliet Green (organic and fair trade coconut palm sugar and fruit / herb products) wants to invest half a million euros to increase the production of palm sugar. For this, the number of contracted farmers must rise from 900 to 2000 in the coming 5 years. In addition, due to climate change, farmers are struggling with landslides in the rainy season and water shortages in the dry season. The consortium, which is managed by VHL, will try to tackle landslides and droughts, train teams of advisers, introduce and test new adaptive farming systems and help set up new value chains and improve existing ones. This can lead to internships/thesis opportunities for VHL students from different study programs, staff involvement and cases for education. The following short movie will give an impression of their visit.
On Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 March, Prof. Dr. Yudi Firmanul Arifin from Universitas Lambung Mangkurat (ULM) from Kalimantan, Indonesia, visited VHL with an Erasmus Ka107 scholarship to discuss cooperation related to tropical forestry, peat rehabilitation and mine rehabilitation. VHL and ULM have been cooperating since 2016 and on 25 March Peter van Dongen signed our MoU for further cooperation in the presence of Harry Ankone, Peter van der Meer and Tjallie Botden-Scheltinga. In the past several VHL students did their internship or thesis in cooperation with ULM. Both institutes are involved in joint applied research proposals and are interested to set up Living Lab Peat in Kalimantan. During the meetings new funding opportunities were discussed and opportunities for student exchange were investigated. Prof Yudi gave a guest lecture about the ‘Ecology, utilization and commercialization of non-timber forest product: a case study in South Kalimantan Province’ to our students and lecturers from Tropical Forestry, Master of Development and Master of Agricultural Production Chain Management.
On the 4th of April, around 90 people met in the Senate Hall (Eerste Kamer) at het Binnenhof in The Hague to discuss the sustainability of oil palm from Indonesia. The Round Table on Oil Palm was organised by the NL-Indonesia Nederland Society and chaired by Wim van Eekelen, former Minister of Foreign Affairs. Aritta Suwarno represented VHL University and gave an update on the ongoing research in Kalimantan on oil palm sustainability. She stressed the importance of involving students (both from VHL and Indonesian Universities) and sharing our results with a wider public and especially the younger generation. Other speakers were Peter ter Kulve (Unilever), Mahendra Siregar (Ambassador to US for Indonesia), and Marieke Harteveld (WWF).
Contact and country coordinator Indonesia: Tjallie Botden - Scheltinga.