Indonesia and its history with Kratom

kratom flower
October 15, 2019 0 Comments

Advocates of Kratom will tell stories of how the plant has impacted their lives for the better, but one of the biggest success stories is rarely talked about – that of Kratom’s impact on Indonesia’s poorest communities.

Largely rural, Indonesia has its fair share of poverty, but as the demand for Kratom has grown in the West, so has the economic situation in the islands – formerly poor communities have benefited from the fairly recent interest in the plant to such a degree that they have been able to buy bigger houses for their families, and even drive cars for possibly the first time in their lives.

The Gold at the End of the Rainbow

Before the Kratom boom, Indonesia’s main exports were rubber, and palm oil. But with demand for rubber falling, and the environmental impact of palm oil being more widely recognized, farmers have had to find alternative means of earning money. And that’s where Kratom comes in. Using Kratom in Indonesia has been banned, but export hasn’t, and many small businesses are enjoying the benefits of selling Kratom to the West. As the biggest exporter to the United States, Indonesian farmers would be financially devastated by a US ban of the plant. Of course, these communities hope that the current rise in demand for Kratom continues, but even if it doesn’t, the positive effect will be seen for many years to come thanks to the influx of money which has already gone into these communities.


The push and willingness for more vendors in the US to adhere to GMP Compliance (Good Manufacturing Practice) is having a knock-on effect in Indonesia, as more and more farmers are prompted to raise the bar on their own processes, knowing that doing so will increase confidence in them as producers of the plant, which will then bring more business their way. Regulation of Kratom will ensure that that practice continues – a ban won’t stop the production, but it will have a detrimental effect on standards throughout the chain.

No Publicity is Bad Publicity

Have you ever heard that saying before? (You only have to look at Madonna’s Justify My Love to see it in action. Pulled from MTV for being too explicit, the song went on to be a huge hit globally.) Despite (or perhaps because of) the controversy surrounding Kratom, Indonesians are reaping the rewards. Only popular in the West since 2007, Kratom has been around for much longer, and the sudden rise in popularity must be quite perplexing (albeit very welcome) to the locals.

Big Business

Growing Kratom can be a high risk enterprise, and with many farms being quite sizeable, the costs are considerable. In fact, some farms need to make in the region of $750,000 per month to be viable, but with the rewards being so high, it’s worth the risk to most. The rise of Kratom has meant that many farmers, who, up until it became so popular had relied on traditional methods of farming, have had to make many changes in order to keep up with the latest methods of production.

As you can see, a ban on Kratom would be catastrophic, not only for those of us who use the plant, but also for those who produce it, and the impact on their lives and communities cannot be quantified. Regulation would ensure that not only are we getting a quality and safe product, but also that the farmers and their families who rely on the West’s demand for Kratom can maintain their income and enjoy a decent standard of living.

Author : Andy Cyrus