The biggest challenge facing countries engaged in food and agriculture globally is turning comparative advantage into competitive advantage. Competitiveness issues dealing with of production, market shares, relative export advantage and commodity competitiveness; in term of quality, safety and nutrition, become critical and need to be internalized.
At Bogor Agricultural University, nutrition and food research and education programs have been developed for over 30 years. Previously, there were several Centers associated with nutrition and food science and technology. Since 1979 Food Technology Development Center (FTDC) was established at IPB. In 1985; Inter University Center for Food and Nutrition was established and further developed into Center for Food and Nutrition Studies (CFNS) in 1992. Other centers related to nutrition, food science and technologies were also established; namely Center for Food and Nutrition Policy Studies (CFNPS; since 1987) and Center for Assessment of Traditional Foods (CATF, 1997).
Due to the reorganization and consolidation process at Bogor Agricultural University; at 2004, the centers were consolidated and merged into one center named Southeast Asian Food and Agricultural Science and Technology (SEAFAST) Center.
The center is designed to develop a national and regional system of partnership in the area of food and agricultural science and technology development. In general, the SEAFAST Center is designed to bring together the university, governmental, donor and business sectors to focus on the improvement of food science and technology issues for Indonesia and where appropriate, in other ASEAN nations. IPB has mandated the SEAFAST center to be a regional center focusing on improving food quality, nutrition and safety through science and technology.
To achieve the target to be a regional center; SEAFAST center is actively seeking mutual partnerships and cooperation’s with many national, regional and international institutions.
At national level, SEAFAST Center IPB (especially thru previous centers of CFNS, CFNPS; and CATF) has been actively involved in developing national policy, especially in food quality, safety, and nutrition aspect. Our national partner institutions include Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Research and Technology, and The National Food and Drug Control, and national food industries. Internationally, our Center also has strong association with top universities and other food related agencies in Asia, North America and Europe.
To further develop the capacity to be able to play a significant role in continual enhancement of national food safety system; SEAFAST Center is actively seeking opportunity to develop cooperation with international institutions dealing with food quality, safety and nutrition.
Since 2004; IPB through SEAFAST Center, has developed cooperation with Texas A&M University. Since January 2005, Texas A&M University (TAMU) was awarded a USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service416(b) grant. The grant will assist in the development of the Southeast Asian Food and Agriculture Science and Technology Center (SEAFAST) in Bogor, Indonesia.