News and knowhow for farmers

EU forestation rules to lock out smallholder coffee farmers from 30th Dec

With just eight months remaining, Kenyan coffee stakeholders are racing against time to ensure compliance with the EU’s new deforestation regulation (EUDR).

This risks a lot of Kenyan coffee farmers being barred from accessing Kenya’s biggest export market (Europe takes in 55% of Kenyan coffee) as of 30 December 2024, endangering the livelihoods of thousands.

EUDR bars entry of coffee produced from land that had been a forest as of 2020 from being able to enter the European Union.

It also applies to the production of cocoa, beef, palm oil, soy, wood, and rubber. 

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EUDR is aimed at bringing down greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss by slowing down deforestation. Agricultural expansion is estimated to drive close to 90 per cent of global deforestation. More than half of forest loss is caused by conversion of forest into cropland, whereas livestock grazing is responsible for almost 40 per cent of forest loss.

The regulation will require the specific location of coffee producers to be availed and be easily traceable. It will also categorise countries from high, medium and low risk levels depending on the rate of deforestation for agricultural purposes. 

To ensure compliance a multiagency technical team will be formed to carry out geo mapping so as to establish the exact location of Kenyan coffee farms.

Speaking to Smart Farmer Africa, Timothy Mirugi, New KPCU’s Managing Director said that the Nairobi Coffee Exchange and the Digital Integration of Agricultural Supply Chains Alliance is gathering information on afforestation and deforestation rates for use in sensitising farmers– most of whom are as yet unaware of this new EU directive.

Other sources of information for farmers on EUDR are county government agricultural offices, and the Agriculture And Food Authority Coffee Directorate.

Related News: Small, mid-sized coffee farmers raise incomes 35% through pulping

Coffee is the main source of income for an estimated 1.5 million households– most of whom live exclusively in rural Kenya.

The country’s national production increased from 34,512 MT in 2020/21 to 51,853 MT in the year 2021/22 valued at $98.56 million.

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