We are less than a year away from the European Union officially enacting a new law banning the import of commodities, like coffee, linked to deforestation, and the difficulties—and opposition to the measure as it currently stands—continues to mount. In order for the goods to be imported, without a hefty fine at least, the law requires companies to be able to trace their origins to prove they weren’t grown on newly deforested land.

But now, the European Coffee Federation is urging the EU to delay the implementation of the law due to “a potentially devastating impact on millions of growers.”

As reported by Bloomberg, the ECF cites significant disruptions, particularly for smallholder coffee farmers, if the law goes into effect on December 30th as planned. Based on the findings of a survey by the International Coffee Organization, the ECF notes that 80% of farmers haven’t mapped their land as required by the law, stating further that they “wouldn’t know how to properly participate in the exercise.”

advert but first coffee cookbook now available


To compound problems even further, the ECF states that compliance support tools have been developing slowly, not allowing sufficient time for their implementation. Thus the ECF is calling on the EU to reconsider the timing of the new law.

“The implementation and the timeframe are proving to be a challenge not only for the entire coffee sector and related stakeholders, but also for the EU competent authorities,” an ECF letter to the EU states. “The ECF and its members remain fully committed to the spirit of the EUDR and will continue to work to ensure that the overall objective set out by the European Commission is met by all, when the time is right, without the numerous unintended consequences.”

The ECF joins NGOs Conservation International and Solidaridad who have previously expressed reticence over the implementation of the deforestation measure and how it will negatively impact smallholder coffee farmers. There is even speculation that some green coffee currently sitting in EU warehouses may have to be dumped if not sold before the law takes effect.

Per Bloomberg, the EU commission has received the letter expressing the ECF’s concerns and will reply “in due course.”

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.