"Prof. Sjarifudin has given contribution by increasing Indonesian agricultural productivity which can encourage Food Security as well as assisting to alleviate poverty," said Philippines Minister of Socioeconomic Planning, in the opening speech of the award ceremony held at the New World Hotel, Makati, Philippines (16/1).
Former Indonesian Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Dr. Sjarifudin Baharsjah is the first Indonesian to receive the Dioscoro L. Umali Achievement Award in 2013.
The award was presented by Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit, Jr., Director of the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
The award ceremony was witnessed by Arsenio Balisacan, Minister of Socioeconomic Planning/Director General of National Economic Development Authority (an institution in the Philippines similar to Bappenas), and ambassadors of the SEAMEO member countries and Charge d'Affaires Ad Interim of Indonesian Embassy in Manila, Ade Petranto.
When receiving the award, Prof. Sjarifudin was accompanied by his wife, Prof. Yustika Sjarifudin Baharsjah who is also a former Indonesian Junior Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Social Affairs.
Dioscoro L. Umali Award is an award given by SEARCA, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) of the Philippines and Dioscoro L. Umali Foundation.
This award was first given in 2008 and Prof. Sjarifudin is the 4th figure who received the award. Three previous figures come from Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
This award is presented for the contribution of Prof. Sjarifudin in developing agricultural sector and rural development in Indonesia, particularly in introducing agribusiness and agro-industry.
Prof. Sjarifudin was the Indonesian Minister of Agriculture for the period of 1993-1998 who has successfully made Indonesia self-sufficient in rice production during his term of office.
He also served as Independent Chairman of the FAO Council for the period of 1997-2001 and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
Arsenio Balisacan, the Philippines Minister of Socioeconomic Planning, in his opening speech stated that the Umali Award is presented to those whose contribution to the agricultural sector has improved the living standard of the society and who serve as an inspiration and role model for young scientists.
After receiving the Umali Award, Prof. Sjarifudin delivered a public lecture entitled "Dare to Turn Around: An Invitation to Turn Back to Farmers as Change Agents to Achieve Agricultural Success".
In his lecture, Prof. Sjarifudin among other things talked about the development of the agricultural sector in Indonesia, particularly the efforts to achieve food self-sufficiency, especially in rice.
With a variety of problems and obstacles faced by Indonesia, such as high population growth, urbanization, and the reduction of agricultural land, the efforts to achieve food security is not easy. Prof. Sjarifudin considers that a new agricultural policy is needed to achieve food self-sufficiency.
According to him, there are some things that need to be done to achieve the objective, among other things by expanding agricultural land, not only utilizing rice fields but also high plains and peat land; by developing from Green Technology to Blue Economy; reorientation of agricultural research; reorientation of agricultural extension; reorientation of the government's approach to agricultural development, increasing the role of farmers as change agents and changing the role of the government to a regulator and facilitator, and reallocation of agricultural development budget.
Meanwhile, Ade Petranto, Charge d'Affaires of Indonesian Embassy in Manila, among other things said in his speech that the award presented to an Indonesian agricultural figure came at the right time, given that the Indonesian government made food security as one of the priorities of development.
This is in line with the vision of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Year 2015 and the results of the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Bali last December. Prof. Sjarifudin Baharsjah’s achievement in obtaining DL. Umali Award has made Indonesian people proud and at the same time it serves as an inspiration for the Indonesian younger generation. (Source: Indonesian Embassy in Manila/Ed.Amel)