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Evidence of Smallholders Losing Access to Market

African Smallholders Lose Access to Market

The EUDR legislation poses a significant challenge for smallholder farmers, particularly in Africa. It’s not deforestation on their farms that’s causing the problem, but rather the lack of infrastructure, connectivity, and preparedness. Even though the legislation hasn’t been fully enacted, evidence suggests that purchases of African coffee from smallholder farmers are already on the decline as African coffee exporters are witnessing the repercussions as contracts for coffee sales are being awarded to better-resourced countries like Brazil. This is especially concerning for countries like Ethiopia and Uganda, where the majority of coffee farming is done by smallholders. Ethiopia, in particular, heavily relies on the European Union (EU) market for its coffee exports, with approximately 5 million families dependent on this trade. Reuters has pointed out that any disruption in market access will have significant social consequences for the country.

This disruption to market for smallholders is alarming to the Trade in Space team. Trade in Space was founded in 2017 with a mission to protect smallholder farmers’ access to the market by leveraging innovative space and blockchain technologies.

From the outset, our approach has been to develop agile and scalable solutions that have minimal impact on the bottom line and are therefore affordable and accessible to all. The power and insight that can be sourced from space data should benefit all.

With the evolving regulatory landscape this year, we have further enhanced our services, Sustainimaps and Digitrak, to help coffee and cacao supply chains adapt to these regulatory changes. We’ve already demonstrated success in assisting approximately half a million African farmers in meeting their EUDR obligations, with many more across Asia, South America, and Central America benefiting from our solutions. What Reuters article has emphasised is the importance of our ability to work in remote and poorly connected areas, serving producers of all sizes and shapes. Our products have been meticulously designed to cater to a wide range of clients, from large multinational coffee traders to smallholder cooperatives in Africa or Colombia. The flexibility and agility of our solutions are crucial, especially when considering cost implications. We’ve made it a priority to offer annual subscriptions and per-pound pricing models to ensure that the cost of delivering our services ultimately benefits the producer through the premiums they can obtain.

The challenges posed by the EUDR legislation are real, but with innovative solutions like ours, we can help smallholder farmers navigate these changes and continue to thrive in the global market.

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