YOGYAKARTA-Orchids that belong to the family of Orchidaceae have long been known by the public, both as decorative plants or cut flowers. In this world, it is estimated that there are about 20,000 species of orchids and some in the tropical regions. In Indonesian archipelago, it is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 kinds of orchids spreading from Sabang to Merauke. Therefore, Indonesia as a tropical country is a country that has the world's richest orchid species.
Although Indonesia is rich in various kinds of orchids, so far there are not many people who breed them because of the assumption that these plants are expensive and difficult to cultivate. Therefore, although many people love orchids, not many of them are willing to plant and cultivate the orchids. "One of the causes of the reluctance to cultivate orchids is ignorance about what orchid is and how to plant and cultivate it," Dr.rer.nat. Ari Indrianto, S.U said in the 19th Orchids Cultivation Training, I-MHERE Program Faculty of Biology, Monday (25/7). The training from July 25 to 29 2011 was followed by 50 participants, among others, from Faculty of Biology, several Faculties at UGM, Forestry Board, Department of Agriculture, National Park of Mount Merapi, and The Agricultural Training, Research and Development Station (KP4).
Ari added that this training is quite useful, especially for the variation development of orchids by cooperating with The Agricultural Training, Research and Development Station of UGM (KP4 UGM). With such cooperation, KP4 could also become the center of orchid cultivation, even become an international research field for orchids. This step is quite important because the potential development of orchids is very large. "The potential is large, so don’t let the outsiders take our technology," he said.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of I-MHERE UGM, Dr. Ir. Cahyono Agus Dwi Koranto, M.Agr.Sc., said that through the I-MHERE program from Directorate of Higher Education, UGM, particularly the three recipient Faculties (Biology, Pharmacy, and Forestry) have freedom and autonomy to manage excellent programs. One of the excellent programs of Faculty of Biology is the development of orchids.
Cahyono supported the training because of its promising potential that can increase income from the business side. In addition, no less important is the cultivation of orchids to keep them from extinction. "The benefits are not only for academicians, students, but also the community. I also hope that not only certificates that will be obtained, but also the knowledge can be practiced and utilized for agricultural commodities as well as decorative plants," Cahyono said.
Dean of Faculty of Biology, Dr. Retno Peni Sancayaningsih, M.Sc., said that biodiversity in Indonesia is expected to provide benefits for education and research. Particularly for orchids cultivation, Peni hoped that the business world can work together with academicians for the cultivation and development of the orchids. "How can Indonesian biodiversity is taken over by other countries for getting the benefits?" Peni said.
Peni also mentioned about orchids germplasm from Indonesia that has been taken by foreign countries, such as Thailand and Taiwan, so that both countries are now known as world’s orchid exporters. Under the condition, Peni re-emphasized the importance of orchid cultivation and research for the long term. "Many orchids from Thailand and Taiwan are taken from germplasms of Indonesia, but these are taken there and cultivated there, then sold to Indonesia at a great price and we lose. Therefore, utilize orchids research for the long term!" Peni said.