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Local farmers in Africa brace for new EU deforestation law

Ivorian farm workers slits cocoa pods to extract the beans in a cocoa plantation of the N'Doucy cooperative near the village of Sokorogbo.

Ivorian farm workers slits cocoa pods to extract the beans in a cocoa plantation of the N'Doucy cooperative near the village of Sokorogbo.

Hans Lucas
Coffee importers are starting to scale back purchases from Africa in response to the impending European Union Deforestation Regulation aims to combat climate change by banning the sale of goods linked to deforestation. But the law, set to hit in late 2024, is already having unintended impacts – particularly for small-scale farmers in Africa and other regions.

Under EUDR, coffee growers hoping to sell to the world’s largest economy will have to digitally map their supply chains down to the plot where the raw materials were grown, a task that could involve tracing millions of small farms in remote regions.

In Ethiopia, where some 5 million farming families rely on coffee beans, orders have been drying up in recent months. Ivory Coast – the world's largest exporter of cocoa – ships around 70% of its annual output to the EU, but half of its crop is sold by local intermediaries and thus difficult to trace.

The law could increase small-scale farmer poverty and raise prices for EU consumers, while also undermining the EUDR's impact on forest conservation, as countries like Ivory Coast are considering declassifying protected forests so that they comply with the EU regulations.

GZEROMEDIA

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