SPEECH OF THE STATE MINISTER OF RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY ON THE INTERNATIONAL OIL PALM CONFERENCE (IOPC) 2014

MINISTER OF RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY 
REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
 
OPENING REMARKS 
THE INTERNATIONAL OIL PALM CONFERENCE (IOPC) 2014 
 
Nusa Dua, 17 June 2014
 
 
Excellency Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Indonesia
Honorable guests, representing    government institutions, business enterprises, and academic/R&D institutions (need to be adjusted later for details)
Distinguished speakers and participants
 
 
Assalamu 'alaikum wr. wb.
It is a pleasure for me, personally and on behalf of our ministry, to officially open this very significant event, the International Oil Palm Conference (IOPC) 2014, organized collaboratively by the Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute (IOPRI) and partners. IOPRI has been selected as one of the centers of excellence in research and technology development in Indonesia, focusing on oil palm.
 
I noticed that this 2014 IOPC will cover many issues related to oil palm plantation and related downstream industries, science and technology progresses and social economic challenges, economic benefits and ecological concerns, domestic need and global prospect. Hopefully, at the end, all of these discussions, knowledge exchanges, sharing experiences will lead to 'ecologinomically-sound' recommendations for future oil palm contribution to economic development and people prosperity improvement.
 
Rapid expansion of oil palm plantation in Indonesia needs to be wisely managed such that it will not exhaust lands for food production and/or ecologically fragile lands, especially those which have been designated for conservation. Recently, expansion of oil palm plantation into food crop agricultural lands and ecologically fragile lands has been observed and create concern on its impact on national food security.
 
Indonesia has claimed its status as the world largest crude palm oil (CPO) producing country; however, Indonesia is still far lack behind in palm oil industry. Consequently, Indonesia has to catch up in this area, especially downstream industries to create added value to CPO produced and increase domestic job opportunity.
 
Honorable guests, distinguished speakers and participants
In Indonesia, it is a constitutional mandate for science and technology development to be focused on and contribute to improvement of the people's welfare. Therefore, researches should be designed to create relevant knowledge and technologies that directly benefit to society or provide reliable and sensible foundation for better public policies.
 
Science is expected to clearly contribute to societal well¬being and economic growth. Research should be more focused on real and current issues such that the results could provide relevant and comprehensive information for formulating better public policy; or be utilized for developing technologies required for producing commercial goods and services.
 
It should be properly comprehended that demand-driven researches could also be a very scientifically-sound researches. Demand-driven research is characterized by way of selecting topics or issues to be investigated. This research can also be very scientifically-sound if it is conducted based on appropriate research methodology. Therefore, this is not about making choice between scientific research and commercially-oriented research. It is not about contrasting between the two 'genre' of research. It is about making scientific research more focused on current and real issues; therefore, the results will yield social and/or economic benefits.
 
Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology has encouraged academicians and researchers to be more focused on current and real issues so that the results will contribute to collective efforts in strengthening national innovation system. In our innovation context, knowledge and technology created are not limited to those solely give economic benefits; they also include those positively contribute to social development.
 
Honorable guests, distinguished speakers and participants
With this short remarks, and as requested by the organizers, I am officially declaring the opening of this 2014 International Oil Palm Conference. I sincerely hope that this conference will enrich our knowledge and increase our understanding on science and technology, social economy and ecology of oil palm production, and in turn, will also inspire us to develop and invest on oil palm downstream industry.
 
Have an enlightening and fruitful conference.
 
Wassalamu 'alaikum wr. wb.
 
Menteri Riset dan Teknologi

Gusti Muhammad Hatta