In the village of Namberan, located in the Karangasem District of Paliyan, Gunung Kidul Regency, there is an incredible natural resource–the thriving melinjo tree, also known as Gnetum gnemon, a native to Southeast Asia.
Nearly every household in this village has melinjo trees in their yards. During the harvest season, the ripe fruits often fall to the ground unnoticed by the locals.
The selling price of raw melinjo fruit is only around IDR 2,000 to IDR 3,500 per kilogram. This low price doesn’t justify the complexity of harvesting melinjo fruit, so many locals are reluctant to process it and often leave it scattered on the ground.
A group of students from Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) took the initiative to introduce an integrated smart processing method to turn melinjo into delicious melinjo crackers (emping).
“Melinjo is processed into tropical fruit-flavored emping by coating the emping surface with various flavors such as mango, pineapple, orange, and others. This creates a savory and salty emping with a hint of fruit flavor,” said team member Lukman Yulianto (Chemical Engineering).
In addition to Yulianto, the team also includes Fayza Putri Nurzakiah (Pharmacy), M Imam (Forestry), Putri Sall Sabila (Food and Agriculture Products Technology), and Umar Abdul Azis Susilo Rahmad Wibowo (Psychology), under the guidance of Adriana.
These students teamed up to represent UGM in the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Student Creativity Program in the Community Service category.
The activities in this integrated processing include managing and caring for melinjo trees from fertilization to harvesting, training in making tropical fruit-flavored emping, product packaging, product design training, e-commerce marketing training, and selling products under the name “Namping” (Namberan Emping).
The empowerment in Namberan has had an incredibly positive impact on the surrounding residents. Namping products can be sold at an attractive price, approximately IDR 25,000 for 100 grams.
Yulianto explained that this is a significant step in providing economic benefits to the local community. With this approach, the residents of Namberan can develop commercial emping production.
Melinjo, previously left unused on the ground, has now been processed into delicious emping products with tropical fruit flavors.
The initiative of the UGM students is a tangible example of how education, innovation, and a commitment to advancing the local community can bring real, positive impacts to people in need.
By processing melinjo into delicious emping, they have opened the door to a brighter, more sustainable future for Namberan and its residents.
“The Namberan community can develop this Namping product commercially. So, melinjo, originally scattered without being processed, is now processed into various tropical fruit-flavored emping products,” said Yulianto.
“In the future, the community will prosper with an improved economy through this melinjo processing.”
Author: The UGM Namping Team