Handmade batik products from Maos Lor subdistrict, Cilacap regency, Central Java, have been entering foreign markets, including Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Thailand, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Euis Rohaini, the owner of home industry Rajasamas Batik, said thanks to intense promotion over the last two years through various exhibitions, she had been receiving regular orders from foreign buyers.
“This is challenging for producers to keep increasing the quality of our batik products,” she said on Monday.
She said that 90 percent of her foreign buyers chose handmade batik products rather than stamped ones. The problem was, she said, the production of these particular batik products was very limited, especially due to the process of the making that took a relatively long time.
“Apart from that, the number of handmade batik makers is also decreasing, day after day, leaving only some tens of them, who are mostly old women,” Euis said.
She said that she herself employed only 20 experienced handmade batik makers for her home industry, all of whom were aged over 50.
To help speed the production, she currently was supervising tens of younger batik makers to make batik from their respective houses.
Thanks to the move, she currently can produce between 300 and 400 pieces of handmade batik cloths monthly.
This figure is nothing compared to the number of stamped batik products she could produce as the latter, technically, were easier to produce.
A handmade batik cloth at Euis’ outlet is sold for Rp 300,000 (US$32.8) at the cheapest and Rp 2 million at the most expensive price.
The prices of exported items would be higher because of the transport shipping expenses.
Another handmade batik producer, Darmono, shared the same experience, saying that since about a year ago foreign buyers started to buy his products. He said he had been sending an average of 50 pieces of handmade batik cloths to Japan monthly, which he sold for Rp 500,000 per piece at the cheapest.
Maos Lor has long been known as a subdistrict in which the fine handmade batik cultural legacy is still well preserved. Among batik lovers, Maos is especially well known for its Diponegoro motif, which is believed to have been inherited from Indonesia’s hero Prince Diponegoro as his troops dropped in Maos in the 1800s.