For decades, Indonesia has been the world’s foremost supplier of fresh kratom. In a matter of years, the plant ascended from relative obscurity to become one of the country’s primary economic drivers. Today, it’s estimated that about 95% of the world’s kratom supply can be traced back to the Southeast Asian nation.
However, in mid-2019, both Indonesian farmers and the global kratom community were shocked to discover that their beloved plant might not be openly available for much longer. Following the announcement of an Indonesia kratom ban by the country’s Minister of Health, the future of kratom in Indonesia, the livelihoods of many Indonesian farmers, and the global kratom market now hang in the balance.
A History of Kratom in Indonesia
As a plant endemic to Southeast Asia, it didn’t take long before native populations throughout Indonesia discovered the benefits of different kratom types. Noting the plant’s soothing and uplifting aromas, Indonesians soon adopted kratom for both medicinal and recreational use. Soon, kratom became a staple in various Indonesian communities but remained relatively unknown outside of the region’s borders.
Centuries later, with the rise of global trade, kratom’s influence began to spread outside Southeast Asia for the first time in human history. Like other Southeast Asian commodities such as palm oil and rubber, kratom powder could be exported in large quantities by kratom Indonesia farmers to buyers from all over the world.
Eventually, as global demand for the plant increased in the late 20th and early 21st century, Indonesia’s kratom exportation scene grew alongside it. Today, Indonesia is the world’s top supplier of kratom, due in part to kratom’s legal status in 2019. Unlike countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia, where kratom also grows in abundance, an Indonesian kratom ban was never introduced. Some kratom Indonesian farmers estimate that 90% of kratom exports from West Kalimantan — an Indonesia province — are sold and shipped to the United States.
Indonesia’s booming kratom economy also stems from the declining performance of other industries. Amidst concerns of environmental unsustainability and heavy deforestation, the country’s once-prosperous palm oil industry is fading as the environmental impact of palm oil comes into light. Market oversaturation has also reduced the price of rubber, another tried-and-true Indonesian commodity.
In response to a changing economy, many Indonesians farmers began to redirect their efforts towards fresh kratom cultivation. But, despite their best efforts, nothing would prepare them for what was about to come next.
The Kratom Indonesia Ban: Details & Impact
With unmatched competition from other Southeast Asian nations, Indonesia continued to hold its position as the world’s largest kratom exporter for decades.
However, when the news of a potential Indonesian kratom ban surfaced in late June 2019, Indonesian kratom farmers, American kratom business owners, and kratom advocates around the world were deeply — and understandably — concerned.
The ban was announced by Indonesia’s Minister of Health, who proposed legislation that would illegalize kratom cultivation and exportation throughout the country, effectively shutting down the market. The Minister wasn’t completely unsympathetic towards the country’s kratom farmers, though. Given that Indonesian kratom is one of the country’s main exports, the Minister noted that kratom farmers would have five years to transition their businesses away from kratom and towards other crops or commodities.
Even though the Minister spoke of a tentative Indonesian kratom ban, the global kratom industry began preparing for the worst. The American Kratom Association — an advocacy organization working to keep kratom legal across the United States — estimated that the ban would severely threaten American access to kratom, given that Indonesia’s kratom exports make up 95% of the world’s supply.
Indonesian representatives, such as Deputy Chairman Daniel Johan of the Indonesian House of Representatives, also voiced their disapproval of the Indonesian kratom ban. “Once again, the government should not play a ban without conducting in-depth and final professional research. It would be the same as disposing of the nation’s own wealth. Eventually, Indonesia will only be the importer of this kratom leaf,” Johan said.
In the wake of the kratom Indonesia ban, not everything looks bleak, however. The American Kratom Association affirmed their commitment to protecting American access to kratom — even if that meant traveling overseas. “AKA is working with the Botanical Education Alliance (BEA) and responsible U.S. vendors to coordinate an advocacy campaign to work with officials in the Indonesian government to protect a secure export channel for safe kratom for the benefit of kratom consumers in the United States,” the AKA wrote in an Indonesian kratom ban update dated July 1st, 2019.
Although Indonesia’s Minister of Health seems adamant about introducing a kratom Indonesia ban, the future isn’t set in stone. The country still has options that could alter or prevent this legislation entirely. And, if Indonesia does move forward with a kratom ban, the global kratom supply wouldn’t necessarily dry up overnight.
For instance, Thailand — a country that illegalized kratom cultivation in 1943 — recently overturned its long-standing ban on kratom to make way for legal medicinal kratom use in 2018. The following year, the country’s Justice Minister, Somsak Thepsutin, also announced that they’d be excluding kratom from their latest narcotics classification, even though Thailand has considered kratom a narcotic since 1979.
Given the latest legislative developments in Thailand, it’s clear that not all of Southeast Asia is adamant about controlling or regulating kratom. And even if a kratom Indonesia ban was enacted, it’s possible that Thailand could pick up the slack and fill Indonesia’s shoes as the world’s largest supplier.
While the exact terms and implications of Thailand’s reversed kratom ban are still unclear, the new legislation could allow Thailand to tap into a dense — but previously illegal — underground supply of kratom grown by its citizens. By establishing quality and safety standards for these grow operations, Thailand could potentially transform them into legitimate production environments and begin building a robust kratom exportation network. In time, the quality of their exports could even rival that of Indonesian kratom and its entirely unregulated kratom exportation scene.
However, strict government standards for kratom cultivation could also work against Thailand’s local kratom farming scene, resulting in scenarios where only a select few approved sources are permitted to grow the plant, let alone export it.
While an Indonesian kratom ban would undoubtedly threaten the world’s kratom supply, it might not necessarily be a death blow to the industry, either. With changing legislation, ongoing advocacy campaigns, and renewed interest in medicinal kratom, it’s clear that the world’s kratom farmers — and consumers — still have options.
Keeping Kratom Indonesia Legal: What You Can Do
If you’re interested in ensuring that kratom remains legal in Indonesia and throughout the rest of the world, there are plenty of ways that you can take action.
Keep Yourself Engaged with Kratom Discourse & News
Although kratom’s popularity has soared over the last few decades, the majority of the world isn’t familiar with the plant and could be caught unaware by a ban. However, by engaging in kratom advocacy and spreading information about the plant and/or rallying to protect kratom in your country with other kratom enthusiasts — whether online or in-person — you can play an active role in deciding the future of kratom in Indonesia and elsewhere.
If you’re in the United States, regularly visiting the American Kratom Association’s website is a fantastic way to stay up-to-date on the Indonesian kratom ban and the latest kratom legislation in the United States and elsewhere. The AKA also frequently calls its American audience to action with petitions, campaigns, and more.
Purchase High-Quality Kratom From a Reputable Supplier
Most reputable kratom suppliers import their kratom from Indonesia. By buying organic kratom from trusted sources, you can take confidence in knowing that you’re getting a legitimate product while simultaneously supporting the people and farmers behind the now-threatened Indonesian kratom economy.
Avoiding cheap kratom and purchasing high-quality kratom from established vendors also works to increase kratom’s credibility in the eyes of various governments. By buying through scrupulous sales channels that prioritize the health and safety of their customers, you can help reduce the negative preconceptions surrounding the plant and help portray it in a favorable light.
Experience the Kratora Difference
At Kratora, we’ve been connecting customers from all over the world with high-quality kratom since 2013. With a diverse range of fresh kratom powders and kratom alternatives to choose from, we’ve got a kratom product for everyone, including kratom enthusiasts and newcomers alike. From Green Borneo to Horned Red, all of our Indonesian kratom is:
- All-natural and organic as nature intended
- Sourced from reliable suppliers
- Packaged fresh and securely sealed
- Ultra-finely ground
At Kratora, we understand that kratom’s aroma can vary from batch-to-batch. That’s why we protect each of our products with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with your order, contact us, and we’ll arrange a full refund.
Shop with us today to receive same-day shipping on orders submitted before 3 p.m. Eastern Time Monday through Friday and 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturdays (excluding holidays).
Please note that the US FDA has not approved kratom to be sold for human consumption, sold for external use only. None of the products sold on our website are intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.