KENYA— The coffee industry’s future may be jeopardized as a result of local farmers’ encroachment on forestland, according to the local daily, The Standard.

This revelation emerged during a stakeholders’ event in Nairobi organized by Solidaridad East and Central Africa and the Kenya Coffee Producers Association, emphasizing the need for action.

Gert Van Der Biji, Senior Policy Adviser at Solidaridad, and Stephen Githuka, Head of Programmes at Solidaridad, both attended this forum.

To ensure continued access to the EU market, the government needs to invest Sh400 million in developing Geo Maps.

Kenya currently supplies 50% of the EU’s coffee needs, necessitating the inclusion of all 1.2 million producers on the Geo Map platform.

Half of the local supply of 52,000 metric tons is marketed in EU nations that specifically need coffee from cleared areas before July 1, 2021.

Gert Van Der Biji, Senior Policy Adviser at Solidaridad, stressed the importance of companies demonstrating due diligence in ensuring their products are deforestation-free and traceable, with the appropriate land accurately displayed on Geo Maps.

The EU will select a Competent Authority to perform checks and verifications through its 27 member states, with the policy set to go into force in September 2024.

The EU has set up an information portal allowing companies to download their data ahead of a test run on November 23, 2024, indicating a proactive approach to regulatory enforcement.

Mr. Gert believes that the emphasis should be on forest restoration and tackling the core causes of deforestation and forest degradation.

Solidaridad’s Head of Programs, Stephen Githuka, underlined the need for geotagging coffee estates for traceability, as well as complying with international standards on forest cover and the abolition of child labour.

Githuka emphasized the need to meet these market criteria for sustainable agriculture and market access.

Chairman Peter Gikonyo of the Kenya Coffee Producers Association highlighted the necessity of sensitizing farmers to comply with market demands.

He called upon the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate organizations in documenting farmers’ details to meet the specified conditions.

This collaborative effort is essential to secure the future of Kenyan coffee in the EU market.