The Indonesian government has received a suggestion that it should apply for world heritage status for kreteks, according to a story in the Jakarta Globe.
Wahyu Hidayat, secretary general of the Association of Small-scale Clove Cigarette Producers, was reported to have suggested that clove cigarettes were as much a part of Indonesian culture as was batik.
Kreteks originated with the Mataram sultanate and Princess Rara Mendut in the 17th century, said Wahyu.
“Producing kretek cigarettes started in the era of Rara Mendut. The inspiration for kretek cigarettes came from here.”
Wahyu said he hoped that once the kretek was registered on the World Heritage List maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization the government would pay more attention to the “ailing kretek cigarette industry”.
He said kretek producers were struggling to compete with big cigarette manufacturers producing regular cigarettes.
“The tobacco tax is also a major burden on us,” he said.