PD Tarumartani : The Leaf that Gives Life
In a place known better for its cigarettes, PD Taru Martani is the country’s oldest and largest cigar maker. Taru Martani was initially built under the name of N.V. Negresco in 1918. Three years later, in 1921, this cigar factory moved to Yogyakarta. After World War II was taken over by the late Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX and renamed Taru Martani, Javanese for the leaves of life.
PD Taru Martani is the country’s oldest and largest cigar maker
The building’s structure remains largely unchanged in its 94-year-history and today nearly all the production is still done by hand and not machine. In keeping with its name, Taru Martani gives life to 250 staff, 80% of them women (who are considered better cigarmakers than men). The factory produces around seven million cigars a year using mostly local tobacco, of which 90% is exported for foreign markets like the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the US, France, Taiwan, Australia, and Southeast Asian countries. As a venture that has managed to survive after decades, Taru Martani has become part of Indonesian history.
Photo and text by © Ahmad Zamroni