Wednesday 17 August 2022

Experts warn about the impact to the supply chain of the new EU regulations

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BOGOTÁ, Colombia – The new regulations drafted in the European Union (EU) for importation of agricultural products entail serious risks of affecting the coffee supply chain, experts warned today in a new virtual session of the 3rd World Coffee Producers Forum (WCPF).

The session was chaired by Juan Esteban Orduz, representative of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) in North America, and the main speaker was Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the 100 most influential leaders in the world.

The budding regulations in the EU are seen as unrealistic, among other reasons due to the limitations that producer families face, such as poor digital access in coffee regions to implement the traceability of an agricultural product from the farm.

This requires a constructive dialogue between regulators, the world’s producers and the value chain in general to find joint solutions, including a gradual implementation of the new requirements.

“There will be a supply chain problem for Europe if this legislation is passed as it is currently drafted,” warned Michael von Luehrte, secretary general of the Swiss Coffee Traders Association (SCTA).

“There is a disconnection between the requirements and the realities,” said the secretary general of the European Coffee Federation, Eileen Gordon, who invited European legislators to better understand the realities of the producing countries, and these, to approach the legislators in Brussels.

“Do the legislators in consumer countries know that probably 50, 60 or 70% of the coffee regions lack internet, that they cannot connect?” asked Roberto Vélez, the FNC CEO when referring to traceability challenges.

These issues were addressed in the panel “Are increased environmental/import regulations in consuming countries effective and realistic or will they just worsen the situation by driving farmers out of coffee production?”

Another aspect that was emphasized is the investments that will be necessary to meet these new requirements, which would also make incentives necessary for producer families.

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