From Nguter Jamu Begin to Spread Around

"Entering the city of Sukoharjo, we will be greeted by the Jamu Gendong Statue, one of the icons that shows that Sukoharjo is a city of jamu. Moving on along the road to Wonogiri, we will soon meet a line of jamu shops and a number of gates that read Kampung Jamu Nguter. This is Nguter, where hundreds of people live as jamu manufacturers. "

Published by : Farida  -  28/05/2021 18:35 WIB

3 Minutes read.

Nguter, Sukoharjo, is well-known as the center of the jamu industry, from jamu gendong to mass-produced jamu manufacturers with certain brands. From Nguter, the jamu are distributed throughout the archipelago. Quoted from merdeka.com, Nguter people have made jamu since the days of Ancient Mataram.

Initially, many home-based jamu industries appeared in Nguter Village even though they had not yet obtained distribution permits. In 1994, a Pra Koperasi (Pre-Cooperative) was formed which seeks to facilitate traditional jamu entrepreneurs to obtain distribution permits. In 1995, the cooperative became a legal entity and became increasingly active in encouraging entrepreneurs to process product licensing.

The existence of the cooperative encourages jamu entrepreneurs to find distribution permits, mainly for entrepreneurs who are considered capable of mass-producing jamu. For entrepreneurs who can’t afford it, cooperatives encourage entrepreneurs to stay productive by selling raw materials and selling products from entrepreneurs who already have distribution permits.

Although it has been around for a long time, Nguter’s existence as a center for traditional jamu is only heard by certain circles. Many people around Sukoharjo City do not know about it. It was only when the central government finally established Nguter as a kampung jamu (herbal village), that Nguter’s name as a jamu center began to be widely known by the wider community. The village economy is growing rapidly. Until 2015, Nguter Market was inaugurated as Pasa Jamu Nguter (Nguter Herbal Market).

Nguter’s fame as a village center for jamu cannot be separated from the role of mbok jamu. Not a few mbok jamu Nguter moved to various cities to try their luck. In the cities they visited, they worked as jamu gendong sellers. This move automatically brings with it the tradition of drinking jamu and indirectly promotes Nguter as a center for traditional Indonesian jamu.

Mbok jamu is very synonymous with kebaya and jarik cloth. They carry this identity from the village to the capital and other big cities. They indirectly become agents of culture and tradition of drinking jamu. Every day, mbok jamu goes around selling jamu with the same route and the same type of jamu.

As time went on, more and more young people became interested in peddling jamu. They took off the kebaya and replaced it with casual clothes which were considered more practical to go around selling jamu. In addition to kebaya and jarik cloth, tenggok (jamu basket) mbok jamu were starting to be abandoned for practical reasons.

The Sukoharjo Regency Government continues to support traditional jamu entrepreneurs by providing facilities for selling jamu. These facilities include bicycles, jamu boxes, bottles, and so on. In addition to receiving facilities from the Sukoharjo Regency Government, they also received briefing from KOJAI (Koperasi Jamu Indonesia, Indonesian Jamu Cooperative) and related agencies in terms of improving production quality. Training needs to be made to produce quality herbal products. Not to forget, the marketing trainings was carried out because traditional jamu entrepreneurs had to compete with jamu sales in the Internet.

This is a new challenge for traditional jamu entrepreneurs. For entrepreneurs who are technology-savvy, social media is a fairly effective marketing tool. However, for some others, social media is proof of real competition in terms of marketing because social media has a fairly wide reach compared to conventional jamu sellers who have a very limited area to visit.

Image Source : jamusukoharjo.wordpress.com

Accompanied by KOJAI, Nguter’s traditional jamu entrepreneurs have made quite rapid progress in product quality. The quality of taste and the level of cleanliness of the jamu are the benchmarks for customer satisfaction. KOJAI as a jamu cooperative always accompanies them to stay productive in the midst of the times.

The location of the KOJAI secretariat, which is close to local jamu entrepreneurs, creates a strong unwritten bond. KOJAI always tries to help all kinds of problems faced by traditional jamu entrepreneurs and manufacturers. In addition, KOJAI also always reminds entrepreneurs to avoid BKO (bahan kimia obat, chemical-based medicine ingredients) in the process of making jamu.

Jamu traders are always advised to create and innovate from recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Finally, the taste of each jamu seller is different, because they have their own taste. These creations and innovations are allowed as long as the sellers do not use BKO in their products.

Jamu in Nguter continues to develop well. The quality of jamu is increased and always maintained so that it is free from BKO temptation. In fact, the Sukoharjo Regency Government has started to promote a day of drinking jamu again every Friday morning to promote jamu. From Nguter, jamu continues to be maintained. From Nguter, jamu continues to be preserved as an ancestral heritage that can be relied upon at all times like TCM in China, Ayurveda in India, and Ginseng in Korea.