Addis Abeba – Ethiopian officials have voiced concerns regarding the imminent enforcement of the new European Union Deforestation-Free Regulation (EUDR), citing challenges for countries like Ethiopia with fragmented coffee growing systems managed by smallholder farmers.
This announcement was made following the culmination of a high-level consultative session convened between the Ethiopian government and delegates from the Embassies of the EU Member States, UN agencies, and the World Bank. The gathering, conducted towards the end of the week, was designed to unveil the National Action Plan to development partners actively involved in the coffee sector.
During the meeting, Semereta Sewasew, State Minister for Finance, conveyed the government’s anticipation of a positive response from the EU regarding a requested time extension.
“This extension would allow Ethiopia adequate preparation and assurances for Ethiopian coffee buyers in the EU until the country aligns with the EUDR compliance measures,” she stated.
David Krivanek, deputy head of delegation of the EU to Ethiopia, clarified that the objective of the regulation is to uphold global obligations in combating climate change and maintains a non-discriminatory stance towards countries.
While acknowledging the efforts towards formulating the National Action Plan for EUDR compliance measures, Krivanek emphasized the EU’s willingness to assist Ethiopia in overcoming potential challenges during the implementation of the regulation.
Adopted by the European Parliament and Council in June 2023, the EUDR officially will come into effect on 30 December, 2024. This prompted nations like Ethiopia to develop robust strategies for compliance and sustainable resource management.
The regulation targets products, including coffee and six other commodities (timber, beef, palm oil, soy, cocoa, and rubber), placed on the EU market to be deforestation-free. Its goal is to reduce the Union’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global biodiversity loss.
The National Action Plan, presented during the recent high-level meeting, identifies opportunities and threats posed by the EUDR to Ethiopia’s coffee sector. It outlines action items to be executed over the next three years as part of compliance efforts.
The plan was prepared by the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority in collaboration with the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture.
At the end of January 2024, a consultative meeting was convened with stakeholders, including coffee exporters, to ensure compliance with the EUDR and to create awareness about the National Action Plan.
During the consultative meeting, Adugna Debela, director-general of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority, stressed the crucial need for alignment with the EU regulation. He highlighted that approximately 30% of Ethiopia’s coffee exports find their destination in European Union member countries.
Coffee is Ethiopia’s main export commodity, generating $1.3 billion last fiscal year, accounting 36% of the total export revenue. AS
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