KENYA – Kenya’s coffee industry faces a significant challenge as new regulations from the European Union (EU) set to prohibit the sale of coffee harvested from deforested land in the EU market by the end of the year.  

The EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), passed last year, aims to reduce global deforestation and forest degradation, impacting various commodities including coffee. 

Under the EUDR, European companies trading in coffee must ensure that their products are not sourced from recently deforested areas or contributed to forest degradation.  

The regulation emphasizes the importance of promoting ‘deforestation-free’ products to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. 

To comply with the regulation, operators and traders will be required to collect geographic coordinates of the land where coffee is produced to ensure traceability and verify that no deforestation is occurring in those areas.  

This requirement will lead to tighter scrutiny of Kenya’s coffee by buyers to ensure compliance with the regulation. 

Kenya’s coffee industry heavily relies on exports to the EU, with seven out of its top 10 coffee markets located in the economic bloc. However, the impending implementation of the EUDR poses a significant challenge for Kenyan coffee farmers and exporters. 

In response to the regulations, coffee farmers are urging the government to accelerate the mapping of geographical coordinates of coffee-producing land. This measure is crucial to ensure that Kenyan coffee remains eligible for export to the EU market.

Farmers claim payments 

Meanwhile, farmers are facing additional challenges related to payment delays for cherries sold on the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE).  

Despite the introduction of the Direct Settlement System (DSS) to streamline payment processes, some farmers have not received payment for cherries sold as far back as December 2023. 

Peter Gikonyo, chairman of the Kenya Coffee Producers Association (KCPA), highlighted the challenges faced by farmers due to payment delays, including partial settlements and payments to incorrect accounts.  

According to regulations, settlement should be paid within five days from the date of sale, but some delays date back several months. 

These challenges come amidst a surge in Kenya’s coffee exports, nearly doubling to 2,685 tonnes in January. 

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