This is especially tragic because Kratom should not need chemicals to grow! Kratom is native to Borneo and thrives in many parts of the island. Farmers use chemicals on their Kratom plantations for three main reasons. First of all, they clear the land with herbicides to save time and labor. It is much easier to spray a field with Glycophospate (ROUND UP) and let all the weeds die instead of clearing the land by hand. Secondly, they use pesticides to kill caterpillars which eat holes in the Kratom leaves and to get rid of other small bugs. Thirdly, they use fungicides to prevent leaves from developing brown spots.
In our opinion, these farmers are not using these chemicals out of necessity but because they are very cheap in Indonesia and farmers are accustomed to using them on other crops. It is unclear to us why farmers are covering their Kratom trees with pesticides and fungicides when Kratom grows perfectly well without. For example, we visited several farms that used pesticides and then several farms that did not which were very close to one another. There was very little noticeable difference in the crops, and farmers on organic farms mentioned that caterpillars are present but cause negligible damage. Perhaps the non-organic farms had slightly fewer holes in their leaves and no brown spots, but the difference was hardly perceptible.