Editor's Note: This article was first published on April Dialog. Dr Tony Whitten is Regional Director, Asia Pacific, Fauna & Flora International (FFI). FFI is RER’s technical partner, managing key elements of the...
APRIL Group marked yet another milestone in its journey as one of the largest, most technologically advanced and efficient makers of pulp and paper products in the world. Its Indonesian operations PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (PT RAPP) opened its Kerinci Tissue Culture Laboratory on 1 September 2019.
Inaugurated by guest-of-honour Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Prof H Muhammad Nasir, the USD 5 million Kerinci Tissue Culture Laboratory seeks to optimise and accelerate eucalyptus seedling production for efficient and effective large-scale planting.
We’re welcoming Mohamad Nasir, Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education, to inaugurate @RAPP_Official’s USD 5 million Kerinci Tissue Culture Laboratory, which will produce 36 million seedlings a year for our #sustainable plantations. pic.twitter.com/mwJ8t2IEr8
— APRIL Pulp and Paper (@APRILpulp) September 1, 2019
Tissue culture is an integral part of APRIL’s state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) facility. A strong team of 125 researchers supports this R&D effort, continuously seeking to develop fast-growing superior seeds that are also pest and disease resistant, and possess wood properties suitable for the industry. These are crucial for a world-class company whose nurseries can produce 200 million seedlings every year.
Director of Operations Support at PT RAPP Ali Shabri explained that the role of the Kerinci Tissue Culture Laboratory is to clone and multiply high performing genetic material, so as to support a more effective and efficient harvesting. The lab has 16 growth room facilities which produce as many as 36 million eucalyptus seeds a year.
APRIL’s continuous R&D efforts have begun to show favourable results, advancing the company’s agenda for quality, productive and sustainable agriculture. It has made successful breakthroughs in optimising plantation area, increasing the mean annual increment of its Acacia mangnium plants from 22 cubic metres per hectare annually in 1996 to 32 cubic metres per hectare annually in 2010. The pulp and paper producer now seeks to raise this figure to 35 cubic metres.
Sustainable Development for a Sustainable Future
In addition to enhancing APRIL’s R&D pursuit, the opening of the Kerinci Tissue Culture Laboratory is expected to play a pivotal role in the company’s commitment to supporting and realising its prioritised Sustainable Development Goals, which include core goals such as Goal 12 (Responsible Production and Consumption). This commitment helps to strengthen Indonesia’s scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
The efforts towards building a sustainable future continue to be a recurring theme throughout that eventful weekend. Hosted by RGE Director Anderson Tanoto, Prof H Muhammad Nasir’s visit coincided with Tanoto Foundation’s annual Tanoto Scholars Gathering. The Minister took the opportunity to grace the event and inspired the 200-strong Tanoto Scholars with words of encouragement.