The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Carlos Fávaro (PSD-MT), said that Brazil has its own environmental legislation and that the imposition of international standards violates the country’s sovereignty and will not be accepted.
The minister responded to the question from the Coffee in the Press on the European Union Deforestation-Free Products Regulation (EUDR).
“Brazil has competent legislation to legislate in relation to the environment and rural producers. Don’t try to impose legislation on us, as this even harms our sovereignty. We won’t admit it. This is an immutable clause not to be touched in the Mercosur-Union agreement European Union. And if you want a good neighborhood, a good partnership and great opportunities with Brazil, take that off the table,” he said.
Asked if the law could obstruct the closing of the agreement between Mercosur and the European Union, he said that it hinders relations.
“Maintaining this legislation hinders our commercial relations with the European Union. We know our responsibility, but we also know our sovereignty,” he said.
The European Union Regulation on Deforestation-Free Products (EUDR) prohibits the import of products from areas with identified deforestation until December 2020. The law comes into force in January 2025 and applies to soy, wood, coffee, cocoa, palm oil, beef and rubber.
The minister’s statements took place on Wednesday night (15), after the opening ceremony of the 29th National Coffee Industry Meeting (Encafé), an event organized by Abic (Brazilian Coffee Industry Association), which brings together some of the main entrepreneurs in the sector in the municipality of Barra de Santo Antônio, north coast of Alagoas.
How the Coffee in the Press showed, coffee is the commodity that concerns Brazil most after the approval of the European regulation. This is because, unlike other items affected by the rule, coffee has a very large proportion of exports to the region. Around half of all coffee exported by the country is destined for the European Union.
The standard requires a series of proof that there was no deforestation. As many Brazilian coffee producers are small landowners, there is difficulty in producing this evidence, as it requires technology and costs.
Therefore, the legislation was criticized by productive sectors in Brazil and other countries – especially in Latin America and Africa – for being a unilateral decision by European countries and without any type of aid to producers.
In August, the executive director of the International Coffee Organization, Vanusia Nogueira, said that it is necessary to discuss how much this implementation will cost and how it will be financed.
“It’s one thing for you to demand everything they are demanding from large producers, who have an entire infrastructure and often have companies behind them to support. It’s another thing for you to demand this from small producers, in many of the minimum producing countries,” he said. Walnut.
Philip von der Goltz, manager of the German coffee importer List + Beisler, states that the way in which the rule is being imposed could have harmful social side effects, especially in places with more precarious structures, such as producing countries in Africa, where there are certain rural areas where there is not even electricity.
“What will happen, if they don’t change the logic, most likely, is that the trader will move away from these origins that desperately need coffee as a source of income and turn to more reliable partners, who are capable of bringing this information, this data”, says von der Goltz.
In Brazil, the regulation triggered a race for traceability. Producers and exporters try to implement technologies capable of tracking production and issuing the evidence required by European legislation.
Despite the concern, experts say that Brazil is one of the most prepared to deal with the new European rule, as it has larger and more structured farms than countries like Colombia, Ethiopia and Kenya.
Furthermore, Cecafé (Brazilian Coffee Exporters Council) has worked hard to develop traceability technologies that are capable of meeting EUDR requirements.
In January, the council should launch its own traceability platform. The launch will take place in Brussels, precisely to show the European market that Brazil is rushing to comply with the law.
The journalist traveled at the invitation of Abic (Brazilian Coffee Industry Association).
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