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Indonesian Kratom Vendors Postpone Export Bans

Indonesian Kratom Exports

Indonesian kratom vendors are the world’s leading source of kratom, but the future of kratom’s legal status there is uncertain.

Luckily, advocates with the American Kratom Association (AKA) are on the job, negotiating for kratom’s continued legal status and the supply chain worldwide.

Last month, the AKA announced an update to their ongoing negotiations with Indonesian officials, and it’s great news for the kratom community as a whole.

Threats to the Global Kratom Supply Chain

Indonesia’s equivalent of the US Drug Enforcement Agency, known as the BNN, has been famously adversarial to Indonesian kratom vendors, despite that kratom is Indonesia’s leading cash crop. The agency has been pushing for a block on Indonesian kratom exports, which would effectively stymie the global supply chain of kratom.

Here’s a quick overview of the most important recent events surrounding Indonesia’s plans for banning kratom:

  • As of November 2019, Indonesian news sources were reporting that Indonesia would completely ban kratom by 2022. This followed an apparent decision by the BNN to reclassify kratom as a Class I Narcotic, the same tier as heroin, methamphetamines, and cocaine.
  • In August 2020, the Pontianak Post reported that kratom had been legally reclassified, officially allowing it to be cultivated and exported for “legal medicinal raw materials”.
  • Later that month, the BNN was still talking about a kratom ban, but with a now delayed 2024 start date.

Despite the supposed 2024 start date, some forces within the BNN have nonetheless been pushing for further actions against Indonesian kratom vendors and global exports. It’s a threat to the future of kratom that could have global repercussions.

Luckily, the American Kratom Association is on the job.

The American Kratom Association’s Negotiations With the BNN

In last month’s update, Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow of Public Policy at the AKA, announced successful conclusions to their negotiations with the BNN, Indonesia’s drug enforcement agency.

The announcement contains an important update on the future of kratom production and supply coming out of Indonesia.

And because Indonesia is the world’s number one supplier of kratom, the future of Indonesian kratom is the future of kratom worldwide.

In the announcement, Haddow covers the AKA’s progress in securing the future of Indonesian kratom. According to the announcement, they had reached a formal agreement with the BNN, which holds that there will be “no restriction on kratom exports between now and 2024”.

That may not sound like big news; after all, some BNN officials had been talking about 2024 as their target date for an Indonesian kratom export ban.

But those earlier talks were just that: speculation and idle chatter. The AKA’s announcement references something much bigger: a formal change to policy that prohibits action against Indonesian kratom vendors’ exports.

And that’s very good news for kratom users around the world.

The Importance of Indonesian Kratom Exports

Let’s put it plainly: the future of kratom throughout the world hinges on Indonesia.

Indonesia produces, by far, the lion’s share of all global kratom. Many kratom vendors stock Indonesian kratom exclusively, even when the strains they sell are labeled as another region (such as Thai).

Many other regions in Southeast Asia have historically provided a larger share of the global supply. But with more enacting their own regional bans, Indonesia has emerged as the key remaining source.

Most references suggest that 90 to 95% of the world’s kratom comes from Indonesia.

Simply put, the global kratom industry is utterly reliant on a supply of kratom direct from Indonesia. Therefore, banning kratom would cause massive upset for the industry, disrupt the supply of kratom products, dramatically restrict consumers’ access to kratom throughout the world, and skyrocket prices as supply lines disappear.

What The Export Ban Delay Means

The BNN has, according to the AKA announcement, formally pushed back their planned export ban to 2024. That’s phenomenal news for the global kratom market. It brings the potential for further advocacy, education, and potentially even a reversal of the planned ban.

More than anything, it buys time. Time for advocates like the AKA, and companies like Kratom Spot that support them, to make their voices heard, win over the hearts and minds of those who oppose access to kratom, or even secure alternative sources.

But that all takes a phenomenal amount of dedicated effort. And, as usual, the AKA is at the front of the fight.

Work Left To Do: What Needs to Happen Before 2024

While the formal delay to Indonesia’s kratom export ban is uplifting news, it’s certainly not the end of the fight. After all, if Indonesia does ban kratom in 2024, it will still be a crippling blow to the global kratom supply.

In the AKA’s announcement, Haddow gives a glimpse into the group’s next set of goals.

He clarifies that the AKA will be using the interim period productively. They’ll be “working with various ministries . . . in Indonesia to share with them the scientific basis for the safety of kratom and how it can be beneficial . . . to the consumers around the globe [and] . . . their own citizens there in Indonesia”.

In addition, they’ll also be working on price stabilization that both ensures fair compensation for Indonesian kratom vendors and improves supply price in the US.

It’s a two-pronged approach: education on kratom’s science and safety, on the one hand, economic incentives for continued kratom exports on the other.

By appealing to both the mind and the pocketbook, the AKA hopes to ultimately overturn the planned export ban. If successful, these efforts would be the key to kratom’s global future and ensure steady, fair income for Indonesian kratom vendors in perpetuity.

It waits to be seen whether these efforts will bear fruit. But experience has proved one thing beyond doubt: no one is better suited to the task than the American Kratom Association.