Indonesia Tropical Plant Curriculum Program

The Indonesia Plant Curriculum Program is a partnership between three Indonesian universities (Bogor Agricultural University, Udayana University, Sam Ratulangi University) and Texas A&M University funded by the American People through USAID Indonesia. Indonesia TPC has four main objectives:

Tropical plant science curriculum enhancement

During the 3-year life of the project, a total of 12 educational modules covering a wide range of subjects related to tropical plants will be developed and uploaded to the worldwide web. Specific needs that will be met by these modules include: a) improved uniformity between institutions; b) ability to “mix and match” course content as needed to meet student and curriculum needs; c) improved efficiency by being able to share courses via distance education. These science-based modules will be very beneficial to Indonesian university students and will also serve as a starting point for outreach education to communities.

Research to determine bioactive compounds in Indonesian tropical plants

Project partner institutions are conducting focused research on bioactive compounds that have suspected human health-promoting properties. For example, at Sam Ratulangi University excellent progress has been made on the analysis of bioactive compounds in kenari nut, a native tree which produces nuts with potential as a healthy snack product. The results of this work indicate that kenari nut has strong antioxidant potential with good levels of phenolics and tocopherol. The nut also has a good level of protein and favorable fatty acid and amino acid composition. This confirms that kenari nut has strong potential as a functional food.

As promising plants are identified for possible commercialization, partner institutions will develop and disseminate good agricultural practices for sustainable plant production. This will aid farmers and entrepreneurs in efficiently producing tropical plant-based products.

Community education on tropical plants

Community education in the area of tropical plant production and utilization is an important outreach component for the project. Partner institutions are focusing their efforts on a variety of nearby communities and are providing relevant training opportunities. A standard operating procedure for helping tropical plant-based home industries obtain legal registration for their products has been developed by the partner institutions. This is critically important for communities to be able sell products beyond their own boundaries and will facilitate community economic development.

Enterprise development based upon tropical plants

Based upon education and research efforts conducted in the early phases of the project, tropical plant-based entrepreneurship will be encouraged and facilitated by the partner institutions. This will include training to improve safety and quality of tropical plant-based products, and establishment of nursery plantings of relevant plants at various locations.