SEAMEO BIOTROP with its specialization in the natural essential oil development, took part in the exhibition of the International Forum on Spice Route (IFSR) 2019 at the National Museum, Jakarta (19-23/03).
The activity was organized by the Spice Land Foundation in collaboration with the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, and was attended by roughly 500 people. With the theme of 'Reviving the World's Maritime Culture through the Common Heritage of Spice Route', this forum introduced the history of spices in Indonesia.
At present, Indonesia still ranks the fourth after China, India and Brazil in essential oils commodity, whereas, this country is rich in plant resources which can be processed into essential oils. There are still many small-scale aromatic essential oil industries in various regions which are run by refiners and farmers with traditional distillation tools. To promote the essential oils, during exhibition the Centre presented products made of this oil such as perfume, soap, and aromatherapy which are profitable.
“BIOTROP has produced essential oils from several plants such as citronella, citrus, jasmine, tea, nutmeg, magnolia, and so on, and continued developing the products. The Centre also disseminates this knowledge to communities,” said Dr Supriyanto, the Centre's essential oil expert. A demonstration of distillation process of the plants was also provided by the Centre during the exhibition.
Mr. Jonner Situmorang, M.Si, a Researcher's Assistant of the Centre's Natural Product Laboratory, had the opportunity to become a resource person at the event, and explained the roles of the Centre in the development of Indonesian spices related to the school education.
Mr. Jonner said, “Currently, the Vocational High Schools (SMK) in Indonesia are lacking of spice-related curriculums. Thus, BIOTROP encourages the schools to establish a program to teach the students on how to extract the essential oils from local plants, which could be processed into perfumes and soaps. This program will bring positive impacts both for the skill improvement of the school communities and also to generate incomes.”
Since 2018, BIOTROP has facilitated and accompanied 60 agricultural high schools in Indonesia to develop various kinds of skill offered by the Centre, including making essential oils from plants, through internship activity and training course programs.
To promote more values of tropical biology, the Centre also displayed products from tissue culture laboratory (seaweeds and plant seedlings), from aquatic laboratory (freshwater lobsters and black ghost fish), and from entomology laboratory (stick insects and leaf insects), during the exhibition.