Pontianak (ANTARA) - West Kalimantan Provincial Government, through Regional Company (Perusda) Aneka Usaha, seeks to increase the bargaining power of the region's kratom farmers and businesses by presenting the Sentarum Laboratory service as a kratom quality test facility.

"Coinciding with the commemoration of the 66th anniversary of the West Kalimantan Provincial Government, January 28, 2023, Sentarum Laboratory was launched as an effort to increase the bargaining power of kratom farmers and businesses in the province," President Director of Perusda Aneka Usaha Syariful Hamzah Nauli stated in Pontianak, Saturday.

He explained that West Kalimantan is the largest producer of kratom, which is also known as Mitragyna speciosa, with the largest distribution currently in Kapuas Hulu Regency and several other areas, such as Ketapang, Sintang, Sekadau, and Sambas.

"As a plant, with high economic value, due to being an export commodity, with the potential of hundreds of billions of rupiah per year, of course, it must be supported by many things, such as laboratory to maintain quality. For this reason, it is appropriate, and Sentarum Laboratory is needed," he explained.

Nauli drew attention to several prevalent issues regarding the quality of herbal medicine faced by kratom farmers and businesses in West Kalimantan. He cited examples ranging from contamination of E. coli, salmonella, and other bacteria, and heavy metal contamination to the specification of mitragynine concentrations necessitated by buyers in other countries. These constraints sometimes resulted in lower selling prices and also unilateral cancellations that affected businesses.

"Because of that, Perusda took an initiative to facilitate farmers and businessmen by presenting the kratom quality test facility, Sentarum Laboratory. We hope that in future, kratom farmers and businesses can improve the quality of production that ultimately can improve the welfare of hundreds of thousands of West Kalimantan people, who are directly connected to that sector," he stated.

The Sentarum Laboratory of Perusda Aneka Usaha has complete equipment and testing tools with qualified human resources in their fields, who will serve the kratom businesses to conduct the microbiology test, such as to check for the presence of E. coli and salmonella, among others. The others comprise chemical testing, such as for checking the humidity or water content and heavy metal content to measure the percentage of mitragynine present in kratom.

"Sentarum Laboratory of Perusda Aneka Usaha is also expected to contribute and be opened for future research and development quality," he stated.

Currently, the price of kratom powder ranges between Rp30 thousand and Rp40 thousand per kilogram. In 2020, the price was within the range of Rp60 thousand per kilogram. Even earlier, at the onset, when the kratom commodity had just begun to be known, the price had reached Rp90 thousand per kilogram.

Low prices and also rejection by buyers are bound to occur if the exported kratom is not tested for quality as required. The absence of laboratory testing has an impact on the strength of farmers or businesses, thereby posing a hindrance to exported products having a high bargaining power.

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Translator: Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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