Something Sweet from Tuban: Siti Fatimah’s Honey Starfruit Snacks

The delicate sweetness of honey starfruit is the pride and joy of the Tuban district in East Java. The fruit is mainly produced in the Tasikmadu village, which also happens to be the hometown of Siti Fatimah - a micro entrepreneur in the Wonder Women program who makes processed honey starfruits snacks and beverages under the name of Putri Madu or Honey Princess in English. There are many factors that make honey starfruits special. True to its name, honey starfruits are known for their sweet juicy taste and soft flesh. These qualities are also the reasons why honey starfruits are sold at a higher price compared to the typical starfruits.

Siti's business venture began when she saw how the price of honey starfruits plunges during the harvest season from IDR 22,000 to IDR 15,000, causing losses to farmers in her village. On top of that, honey starfruits that are overripe and too small often don't get sold and end up being used as animal feed. This gave Siti the idea to use honey starfruits to make snacks and beverages.

Tasikmadu-native Siti and her Putri Madu honey starfruit snacks.

Siti began experimenting with making various types of starfruit snacks. With overripe honey startfruits, she made dried honey starfruits covered with sugar and cinnamon. Siti also used the juice produced during the process of drying the fruit and sold it as sweet honey startfruit essence. Meanwhile, she found that the size and shape of the small honey starfruits are perfect for snack cups. Now, Siti makes six types of snacks and beverages from honey starfruits that are sold in convenience stores such as Samudera Supermarket and TextMart in Tuban, as well as souvenir shops such as Toko Asih, Toko Ana, Toko Hanik and many more.

Siti's efforts to increase the added value of honey starfruits which were previously wasted has also benefited the farmers in her village. One of them is Mita Kustiana, a starfruit farmer who owns 600 starfruit trees in Tuban. Every harvest season, Mita sells between 10 kg and 25 kg of overripe and small honey starfruits to Siti. Mita earns approximately IDR 1.2 million from Ibu Siti each season, which is significantly more as compared to the previous seasons when her overripe and small honey starfruits were wasted.

Over the past three years, Siti has participated in various training sessions organized by Kopernik, including business planning, market analysis, marketing and more. She hopes that the knowledge gained from the Wonder Women program can support her in growing the Putri Madu brand, selling the product through offline and online channels. In Siti's dreams, Putri Madu honey starfruit snacks will one day become a famous souvenir to Tuban visitors.