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Posted: Mon, 04 Nov 2013 15:20
Asia Pacific Weed Science Society Honors Former Manager of BIOTROP’s Tropical Pest Biology Program - 825 time(s) visited
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Emeritus Professor Dr. Muhammad Soerjani, former Program Manager of SEAMEO BIOTROP’s Tropical Pest Biology Program, was honored with an Outstanding Achievement Award by the Asia Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS) during its 24th Conference in Bandung 22-25 October 2013.

Prof. Soerjani was instrumental in developing the APWSS since its birth in Hawaii in 1967  Together with other prominent experts in weed science such as Dr. Marcos Vega of the Philippines, Dr. Barnes of Malaysia, Dr. Lez Matteuz of New Zealand, Dr. Roy Nishimoto of Hawaii, and Dr. Larry Burril of  USA,  Prof. Soerjani was involved in the formulation of the APWSS charter including its organizational membership and the staging of the Society’s five annual conferences in Malaysia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Japan, and Indonesia from 1971 to 1977.
   
As the Centre’s Program Manager for Tropical Pest Biology from 1970 to1979, Prof. Soerjani developed and implemented a long-term program on weeds and ectoparasites, the two subjects that were neglected by other institutes in the region at that time. The program, which is regional in scope, focused on three activities, namely:  1) conduct research on the biology of selected weeds, 2) train young scientists in the region in conducting weed research in their own countries, and 3) present research findings at regional scientific meetings, symposia, and conferences.  The Program’s training activities  were carried out with instructors from Australia, France, Japan, USA, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands and benefited researchers from  Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Through the Program, Prof. Soerjani’s efforts had considerably contributed in raising awareness of policymakers on weeds and their accompanying impacts, inspiring young scientists to be interested in weed science research, developing research organizations dedicated to weed science, and providing several weed control alternatives for farmers to reduce cost of agricultural production in the region.   It was also during his stint in the Program that he wrote the book on Weeds of Rice in Indonesia and co-authored the book on Aquatic Weeds of Southeast Asia with Prof. Juan Pancho of the University of the Philippines Los Banos, which have served as reference books in various universities in the region.

Prof. Soerjani was also responsible in initiating and eventually forming the Indonesian Weed Science Society (WSSI) on 7 March 1970 at SEAMEO BIOTROP.  As its first President, WSSI organized the First Indonesian Weed Science Conference on 29-31 January 1971. Such initiative also led to the formation of similar professional organizations in the Philippines and Thailand. These professional organizations were responsible in disseminating information on weed management, and  integrating stakeholders interested in weed management from farmers, extension workers to retailer of herbicides to agrochemical companies and policy makers.

Prof. Soerjani obtained his doctorate degree from Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta under the supervision of the late Prof. Dr. Otto Sumarwoto, SEAMEO BIOTROP’s first director.