Firman Setyaji, a man from Semarang, has turned water hyacinth plants into crafts. Photo Source:

In aquatic ecosystems, water hyacinth is known as a weed because it keeps growing and invading land, especially in puddles.  However, do you know that water hyacinth plants can be processed into valuable handicrafts?

Instead of being exterminated, one from Semarang Regency named Firman Setyaji managed to turn water hyacinth into a craft.  The results of his creations can be found at Bengok Craft, an outlet as well as a workshop that he founded at his home.

The water hyacinth plant is also known as benguk or bengok by the residents of Semarang.  Benguk is a term that is usually used to describe mumps or goiter.  However, the term is also often used as a reference to these plants.

This 30-year-old man has been in the business since 2019. It is known that this craft was made by Firman himself at home.  It’s no wonder that in his house there are various handicrafts made from water hyacinth.

Not only that, now Firman has been assisted by 15 craftsmen and tailors.  for making crafts such as sandals, jackets, hats, kitchen furniture, flower vases, to tissue holders.  In this case, Firman tries to empower human resources for craftsmen from his village.

“Thank God, about 15 people have been assisted.  All of them are local residents who don’t know me at all,” said Firman.

At first he was able to make this business starting from his concern for water hyacinth plants. At that time, this 2014 alumni of the Department of Criminology FISIP UI returned from wandering the capital, he felt restless when he saw piles of water hyacinth that filled the natural lake which became a source of income for local residents.

That’s where he had the idea to use weeds to become valuable things.  This innovation was sparked at the same time that Firman wanted to provide jobs for the surrounding community.

Firman Setyaji, a water hyacinth craftsman. Photo Source: M. Nafiul haris/Tribun Central Java

In starting his business, Firman took approximately a year to develop his business.  In Indonesia, he markets his products in collaboration with a number of institutions.

Now his handicrafts are not only sold in Indonesia, but have been exported abroad.  Such as Japan, Singapore, Dubai and Italy.  According to him, his handicraft products can penetrate the international market because they are made from unique raw materials and are rarely found in these countries.

In addition, please note, crafts from a plant called the Latin Eichhornia crassipes have materials that are comfortable to wear, don’t break easily, and rarely get moldy.  When it comes to prices, of course they vary.  It can be priced from Rp. 10 thousand to hundreds of thousands of rupiah for bags and jackets.

This article has been published on with the title “Pria Asal Semarang Ini Sulap Tanaman Enceng Gondok Jadi Kerajinan Tangan“,
Translator: Ritya Rasta Bilqiis

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