LOS ANGELES, CA --
The Kratom Coalition
, along with the Indonesian Kratom Farmers Association and the American Kratom Association, commends Indonesian President Joko Widodo for meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday, November 14th, where President Widodo made an appeal to President Biden to maintain the free trade of kratom shipped from Indonesia to the United States as a part of the trade discussions between the two countries.
The meeting comes on the heels of General TNI (Ret.) Dr. Moeldoko formally asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to lift Import Alert 54-15
, which broadly restricts the shipment of kratom from Indonesia to the United States. The alert constitutes a proxy ban on the substance, harming not just U.S. consumers but Indonesian farmers, their families, and the environment.
Kratom and its harvesting support the livelihood of more than 250,000 Indonesian farmers, most of whom live in remote areas in the Borneo rainforest where there are no other options for earning a living. An examination of economic alternatives to replace kratom farming (prompted by persistent threats like the FDA’s alert) revealed that converting the land area to palm oil production is the only viable option—requiring widespread deforestation that carries with it negative environmental impacts (increased temperatures, flooding, and forest fires, as well as reduced rainfall) and subsequent health consequences.
“Because 97% of U.S. kratom imports originate from Indonesia, the FDA’s alert will have an enormously harmful impact on Indonesian farmers who rely on kratom production for their livelihoods. It will also impact American consumers, who rely on kratom to relieve anxiety, manage pain, and treat symptoms of opioid withdrawal,” said Matthew Lowe, Executive Director, The Kratom Coalition. “In light of these considerations and the potential consequences to growers and their environment, we hope the Administration takes President Widodo’s appeal seriously and reverses this decision. A more productive and prudent approach would be to create a set of federal guidelines regulating the industry.”
The Kratom Coalition endorses the call to action put forward by Dr. Moeldoko, Chief of Staff of President Widodo. In a letter to the FDA
issued on September 29, Dr. Moeldoko requested the lifting of the import alert, while proposing measures that would ensure the safety and quality of kratom products, and align with FDA standards. Such measures include the implementation of gamma radiation sterilization on raw materials, and independent laboratory testing to verify compliance with minimum standards for microbiological and heavy metal contamination.
While it has not been determined exactly how many people in the U.S. consume kratom products, a 2021 study
identified approximately 2 million users, while the American Kratom Association, using Indonesian growers’ reports on exports, claims that 11 to 15 million Americans consume kratom. According to the Botanical Education Alliance
, the industry contributes $1.13 billion to the U.S. economy.
About The Kratom Coalition
The Kratom Coalition’s mission is to empower individuals worldwide with access to safe and responsibly sourced kratom products while pushing forward scientific research and understanding surrounding the plant. Education is central to that mission, along with advocating for responsible regulation and funding research to advance the world’s knowledge about the potential benefits and risks associated with kratom.
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