University of Nebraska-Lincoln leaders are attending the Nebraska Symposium in Jakarta, Indonesia, this week to establish agricultural science partnerships with Indonesian universities, businesses, foundations and its government.
The symposium was organized by UNL leaders to demonstrate the university’s agricultural research strengths and technical capacities to help Indonesia reach its agricultural development goals.
Sessions and speakers touched on topics such as closing the yield gap, improving Indonesia’s ability to estimate critical commodity imports, strengthening irrigation technology and water management, plant science innovation, and improving the health and development of infants and young children.
“The Indonesian government has identified agricultural development as a top priority for investment,” said Tom Farrell, senior adviser to the chancellor for international affairs. “UNL’s expertise in crops like corn, soybeans, sorghum and beef production – also identified as a priority – as well as our research in drought and salt tolerance in rice and in crops associated with the bio economy make for potential important partnerships.”
Chancellor Harvey Perlman opened the event with a call to increase agricultural productivity while also protecting Indonesia’s natural environment, water resources and biodiversity.
Featured speakers at the symposium included Archie Clutter, dean of the Agricultural Research Division; Agung Hendriadi, the secretary general of the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development; Thomas Clemente, professor of agronomy and horticulture; Chittaranjan Ray, director of the Nebraska Water Center; and Helen Raikes, professor of psychology in child, youth and family studies.
Also during the symposium, members of the UNL delegation spent a half-day briefing the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development divisional directors on ways to fund research collaborations and other undertakings in the areas of soil science and livestock. Perlman met with leaders of the Ministry of Finance’s LPDP Scholarship Program to discuss their support for funding Indonesian graduate students to study at UNL.
The symposium attracted participants from across the Indonesian archipelago, with representatives attending from universities in Java, Sumatra, Papua, Kalimantan, Lombok and Sulawesi. In addition, UNL alumni from Jakarta and Bogor turned out to show their support and interest in the university’s efforts to focus attention on opportunities with their nation.
Prior to the start of the symposium, Perlman and several other members of the UNL delegation attended a dinner at the Jakarta residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia. Indonesia officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and food industry representatives, along with USDA and USAID officers from the American Embassy were in attendance. The dinner was an informal setting to discuss mutual priorities and discuss how the Indonesia could support research and programs to improve agricultural productivity and water sustainability.