Sales of Traditional Jamu Projected to Hit Rp 20t in 2015: Industry Minister


JANUARY 16, 2015

Jakarta. Sales of Indonesia’s herbal products are expected to surge 33 percent this year on the back of growing demand.

These herbal products — ranging from medicine, beverages, cosmetics and aromatherapy incense — are projected to fetch up to Rp 20 trillion ($1.58 billion) in 2015, up from Rp 15 trillion last year, Industry Minister Saleh Husin said on Friday.

Despite their promise of delivering a “traditional” alternative to mainstream brands, herbal companies rely on a modern manufacturing process as well as aggressive marketing maneuvers to compete with more established names of the pharmaceutical or beauty sector in luring the country’s middle-income consumers.

“Jamu [herbal medicine] must be Indonesia’s leading product, just like K-pop culture is for South Korea,” said Putri K. Wardani, deputy chairwoman of culture-based traditional industries at the Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).

Putri, who is also president director of traditional cosmetic company Mustika Ratu, referred to jamu as an object of national pride that should be developed into a trademark for Indonesia.

She called on the government to launch Indonesia’s herbal products into the international market.

Trade Minister Rahmat Gobel kicked off a campaign to promote the health benefits of herbal drinks amongst government officials in December by hosting a jamu drinking event each Friday in his office, inviting not only ministry employees but also local reporters.

President Joko Widodo is reportedly also an avid fan of these herbal concoctions, and is said to start each day with a glass of boiled turmeric and ginger.

Indonesia is home to 1,160 herbal-based businesses, comprising of 16 large-scale companies and 1,144 small and medium enterprises. Most of this activity is centralized in the island of Java, according to the Industry Ministry.

Some of these companies are listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), including Industri Jamu Dan Farmasi Sido Muncul and Mustika Ratu.

The herbal industry employs 15 million workers, with three million people in the herbal medicine sector, according to Industry Ministry data.