Syaifullah Muhammad is the Head of Atsiri (Essential Oil) Research Center (ARC) of Syiah Kuala University, Banda Aceh in Indonesia. His research team has developed innovative technology to extract high-quality patchouli oil from the plant which is found widely in Aceh.
Patchouli oil is in high global demand in the perfume, cosmetics, and aroma therapy industries. Although Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of the oil, patchouli farmers in Aceh are still living in poverty, in part due to extractive technology that produces a lower quality of the oil.
Syaifullah’s work has been recognised by the Indonesian Government with funding from Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education resulting in a training project run out of his university centre. The project aims to develop new skills for patchouli farmers that allow them to produce a higher grade of oil. It’s all linked to the provincial government master plan for the industry.
Syaifullah is a postgraduate of Curtin University of Technology in Perth and was active in student affairs heading the Association of Indonesian Postgraduate Students and Scholars in Australia. Since 2016, he has also been active at the Banda Aceh municipal level as Taskforce Leader in the Development of Creative Economy implementing the One Village One Product (OVOP) Program.