The Pidie Regency Government through the Pidie Education Office had agreed to form a collaboration with the Atsiri Research Center (ARC) USK. This had been made official with the signing of the MoU by Head of the Pidie Education Office Drs. Ridwandi with the Head of ARC USK Dr. Syaifullah Muhammad, as witnessed by the Pidie Regent, Roni Ahmad, SE and Vice Rector I USK Prof. Marwan in the ARC USK Building. (Banda Aceh, 20 April 2021).
Syaifullah explained that this collaboration work was intended to improve the human resource in research, paper, teacher training, and community devotion, internship, and field work practices. Therefore, the collaboration also involved some schools in Pidie.
According to Syaifullah, in the last four years, ARC with some stakeholders had contributed to support the Patchouli (Nilam) industry in Aceh. One of the evidences could be seen with the stability of price on the farmer level. Therefore, Syaifullah was optimistic that the nilam commodity could thrive just like in the past if all related parties could support this commodity.
“For that reason, we wanted to work with schools because these places are where our future generations were made. They need to know Aceh’s superior commodity from an early age. We do not want this nilam to be lost or just used by others.”, as he said.
Following that, Ridwandi also mentioned that some school principals that attended on that day were from the schools that had made up their commitments to grow the nilam industry in Aceh. Then, Ridwandi hoped that this collaboration would not stop here, but immediately followed up.
“Of course we wanted to see some real actions from this MoU. If needed, we are prepared to take the students to visit the university to know and learn more about nilam or bring the ARC staff to do school visits.”, he said.
On this occasion, the Pidie Regent or also known as Abusyik also showed his appreciation on some USK academician’s initiatives to establish this ARC. This nilam research center is indeed required by the society.
In his opinion, this is the kind of thing that universities must do that would help disentangle the poverty chain in the society. With ARC, our society was re-invited to utilise the natural resource in Aceh, nilam, to lead a prosperous life.
“As an Acehnese, we need to be proud. This marks that the university does not only produce job seekers, but job creators.”, he said.
Meanwhile, Prof. Marwan mentioned that this collaboration is an attempt by USK to help the society with approach to science. In the last four years, the work of ARC to develop nilam is a dynamic movement.
Therefore, Prof. Marwan also hoped that this MoU might stimulate the spirit of collaboration so that the Aceh society's well-being could be realized through the Patchouli industry.
The event was also attended by the Vice Rector IV of USK, the Secretary of Research and community service Institutions (LPPM) USK, the Head of Education Office of Banda Aceh, and some School Principles from Pidie Regency.