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Professor of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) Edia Rahayuningsih encourages the sovereignty of the archipelago's natural dyes. This was conveyed during the inauguration of professors in a speech entitled Reviving the Natural Dyes of the Archipelago to Build National Sovereignty in Natural Dyes Edia explained that natural dyes have been used since the beginning of human civilization. Currently, natural dyes are again widely used in the food, fashion, textile, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and health industries.

Natural dyes are preferred because of their advantages, including being safe, renewable, and biodegradable. In addition, the prospect of re-use of natural dyes in the global realm is in line with several watchwords.

Some of them, namely go back to nature, slow fashion, go green, eco green, and so on. Not only that, the reuse of natural dyes is in line with the SDGs issue.

Edia said Researchandmarket.com in 2019 reported that the global natural dyes market is expected to generate revenues of around USD 5 billion in 2024, growing an average of 11 percent per year during 2018-2024. An increasing wave of environmentally conscious consumers has led to the adoption of natural dyes in clothing, food, beverage, beauty, health and wellness products, and pharmaceutical products in the North American market.

He said increasing public attention to natural dyes and stringent government regulations on the environment and pollution encourage the use of natural dyes in the global market. Edia said that it is unlikely that traditional producers will be able to reach the global market given the rapid development of global market demand.

A number of breakthrough innovations in production and supply chains are needed to be able to bring natural dye products to the global market. In addition, a policy to mainstream the use of natural dyes is also needed to encourage the growth of the domestic market.

"Currently, the fulfillment of the need for dyes for the textile industry in Indonesia is still largely dependent on imports. Data from the Central Statistics Agency in 2021, the average import of synthetic dyes for the last 5 years has reached more than 42,000 tons/year," said Edia, Wednesday, May 11. 2022.

Meanwhile, Indonesia has a cultural heritage of the use of safe natural dyes and compounds that are beneficial for the body. In addition, Indonesia has natural wealth and biodiversity which are the raw materials for making natural dyes.

Indonesia was the largest producer of natural blue indigo dye in the world market during the Dutch colonial period from 1602 to 1942. Currently, there are approximately 150 types of natural dyes in Indonesia that have been identified.

"Sources of natural dye raw materials in Indonesia are extraordinary. However, currently their use is still very limited, only by a few batik craftsmen, jumputan, ulos, weaving, and other crafts," said the chairman of the Indonesia Natural Dye Institute (INDI) UGM.

Edia said Indonesia has enormous potential, prospects and opportunities for natural dyes. However, the existing conditions contrast with the production and application of natural dyes in Indonesia.

He said that when he hears the word natural dyes, what usually comes to mind is related to traditional, simple, small, low quality, impractical, difficult to obtain, and so on. Edia conveyed the many challenges of downstreaming research results into commercial products and being applied in society.

This condition is often illustrated by the existence of a death valley that separates research results and commercial products. Crossing the valley of death requires mutualistic cooperation from various parties, namely academia, the entrepreneurial community, entrepreneurs, and the government.

In addition to these four elements, at this time the existence of the media also plays a very important role in the downstream business of research results into commercial products. The pentahelic synergy is needed to get through the valley of death.

He said the efforts that need to be made in the synergy include building supply chains from upstream to downstream, strengthening mutualistic cooperation between producers, consumers, entrepreneurs, government, and the community, and building awareness of the reuse of natural dyes. Then, the acceleration of the use of natural dyes as products based on local wisdom, competitive, and sustainable, and policies to mainstream the use of natural dyes in the country and reduce imports of synthetic dyes which are very large to date.