Kerinci Tissue Culture Lab at Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau. (Photo Courtesy of RAPP)

Ensuring Sustainable Forestry through R&D

JULY 14, 2021

Jakarta. Today, there is a growing demand for corporations to enhance their commitment to sustainable business practices. This means organizations on horticulture, food to pulp and paper industry need to focus on innovation to increase productivity without increasing their overall environmental footprint. 

One key area for research and development (R&D) is plant tissue culture.

Plant tissue culture is essentially a process, which allows for the production of more cells, new cells, or tissue from existing plant matter. It focuses on multiplying high-quality plants in a shorter period in a sterile, strictly-controlled environment.

The method enables the grower to have disease-free, higher quality cloned plants, and even protect endangered plants from extinction. 

One industry player that is already focusing on plant tissue culture to support  their operations is pulp and paper producer, APRIL Group. 

In 2019, APRIL Group launched a state-of-art tissue culture lab at its operations in Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau, Sumatra.  

According to Sihol Aritonang, President Director of PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (PT RAPP), the operating arm of APRIL Group,  the  lab with 16 growth chambers can produce up to 36 million eucalyptus seedlings per annum. 

“Our KTC [Kerinci Tissue Culture] lab is the latest example of our efforts to advance a sustainable approach to forestry management, where science-based innovation is key to unlocking productivity, without increasing our environmental footprint,” Sihol said.

“Once the best clones are created, the KTC lab will multiply them, making our planting and harvesting process more efficient,” he said.

The lab has readied 120 R&D researchers to carry out analysis and tests to develop seedlings and select the best clones with fast growing, pest and disease resistant characteristics. 

After the initial analysis and tests, the KTC lab will multiply the sprouts and elongate them until the stems grow up to a certain length. Next, the plants are induced to form roots.

They are then planted in a strictly controlled room that replicates the outdoor environment in terms of lighting, humidity, and temperature before being relocated to the nursery and then the plantation.

Now, large-scale planting takes less time than usual since numerous plantlets can be produced in a shorter time. With the application of tissue culture technology, APRIL aims to uphold its pledge to grow its business through driving sustainable solutions 

The commitment was strengthened by the launch of APRIL2030, of which the company is committed to grow its business through diversification, circularity and responsible production.

APRIL’s forestry practices were highlighted by the President of Indonesia, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, during his visit to PT RAPP’s Kerinci nursery center last year. According to the president, the scale of the company’s operations showed that  Indonesia’s technology is more than able to compete with Europe and the US’s. 

“Indonesia is more than able to compete with European countries and the U.S., in terms of technology. Our technology can turn wood into fabric and eventually garments. We can do it,” he said.

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