‘Oil Palm – Cattle Integration: A Transition Towards Sustainability’ Summer School 2018
Students from the countries all over the world, for example Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, Ecuador, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Nigeria, participated at the Master of Science Summer School 2018 with common topic this year ‘Oil Palm – Cattle Integration: A Transition Towards Sustainability’ held in Malaysia and organized by University Putra Malaysia (UPM). UPM; formally known as Universiti Pertanian Malaysia or College of Agriculture Malaya or School of Agriculture) founded in 1931 is recognised by one of Malaysia’s leading research universities offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses with a focus on agricultural sciences and its related fields. UPM’s main campus is located in central Peninsular Malaysia, close to the capital city, Kuala Lumpur.It was formerly known as Universiti Pertanian Malaysia or the Agricultural University of Malaysia. In 2017, the university was ranked as 36th in Best Asian Universities and the 2nd best university in Malaysia.
Students participated in two intensive weeks full of theory and practice. In the first few days students got the main background about the oil palm plantations and cattle breeding system in Malaysia. Those seminars included interlinkages of food security and climate change seminar, climate change and livestock: impacts, Adaptation and mitigation, integrated livestock-crop system in mitigating climate change and enhancing food security. oil pal, cattle integration: strategies to achieve synergy between food production and environmental quality towards sustainability seminars.
The students were supposed to become agents of change for sustainability and experience the complexity of food systems and their ecological, social and economic dimensions in terms of global changes. Furthermore, the participants were supposed to be able to analyse challenges such as climate change, integrated farming practices, land use, aging farming population, livestock, water availability and other possible responses. And the last not the least to be able to identify leverage points for inducing transitions to sustainability. The theory was complemented by visit of SIME DARBY Palm Oil Mill including presentations of the oil processing and harvesting and excursion to the mill.
The second week students went to the plantations of the oil palm in three locations: Palong 1 and 2, and Keratong 3 located in the central- south part of the country.
The students prepared questionnaires under the supervision and interviewed farmers and company managers or assistant managers during their stay in the villages.
The data were analysed and the final results were shared with local community in comprehensive manner followed by community performance as gratitude for students to stay in their homes and contribute to the community. The final closing conference followed the day after when all participants went back at the university. The conference was open to the public and there were invited most important guests from the management of the university and other eminent guests. The last day of the Summer School all students and upervisors participated on the guided tour in Kuala Lumpur to enjoy a bit of the city life and Malaysian diverse culture heritage and contemporary art.