"Kratom can lift economic growth. Making kratom an export commodity is very possible to do because, under Ministerial Regulation No. 18 of 2021, kratom is not among the items that are prohibited from exports," chief of the Presidential Staff, Moeldoko, said while receiving US trade associations and high-ranking officials at Bina Graha Building, here on Monday.
Kratom, a tropical plant used in herbal treatments, is commonly found in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.
In Indonesia, kratom has been cultivated by West Kalimantan people since 2010. Currently, the area under kratom cultivation in West Kalimantan is pegged at 11,384 hectares (Ha), spread across 23 sub-districts and 282 villages.
As of July 2021, the volume of kratom exports to the US has reached 400 tons, Moeldoko pointed out.
However, Indonesia still does not have regulations for kratom trade and business governance, he noted. In addition, there are still differences in its categorization, as the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) still considers kratom an addictive substance.
"There needs to be joint research between the US and Indonesian educational institutions. The reason is that the US, particularly Johns Hopkins University, has been doing research on kratom for a long time. Meanwhile, Indonesia has the goods. Hopefully, this research collaboration will benefit the world," he said.
Curtis Scott Bramble, a member of the Utah State Senate, who was present at the meeting, said that kratom has become one of the important commodities in the US as drugs made from the plant can help reduce pain and anxiety, thereby acting as substitutes for opium.
"Kratom is a safe natural product, but the challenge is that kratom is often contaminated with E. Coli, Salmonella, and heavy metals. So, I hope from this meeting, we will get the same understanding of kratom. I hope that there will be regulations to guarantee the safety of kratom that will be exported to the United States," Bramble added.