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Voice of Cocoa

Free App to Make Smallholders EUDR Compliant

Tracer, a free mobile application by Plant-for-the-Planet, has been launched to help smallholders meet EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) compliance requirements for accessing the European market.

The law, which enters into force in less than a year, demands entities importing commodities onto the EU market to prove that they are deforestation-free.

Climate and environmental advocacy groups have lauded the regulation as in the interest of the environment and the planet.

“The EU regulation for deforestation-free supply chains shows that ambitious forest protection is possible! If we want to achieve our climate targets, we must do everything we can to ensure that this law is a success and that the USA and China follow the European example. But we must not forget the livelihood needs of local people,” said Felix Finkbeiner, founder of Plant-for-the-Planet.

But fears are that smallholder farmers and cooperatives for the seven targeted commodities would be the worst for it on account of compliance costs.

According to sources, many food producers in Europe have not yet found a solution for implementing the EU regulation for deforestation-free supply chains.

For Plant-for-the-Planet, a Germany-based international environmental non-governmental organisation, the situation is dramatically exacerbated by the inaction of European companies concerning producers.

Finkbeiner emphasises, “Companies that do not yet have a solution are jeopardising the livelihoods of thousands of small farmers. European companies must not simply shift the responsibility onto the producers.” 

He added that if companies act too late, they’ll end up taking blanket measures and excluding entire cooperatives and farms from the trade, even though there are other options.

Although some companies have already developed their own monitoring systems, they do not share their data with producers, which, according to Fairtrade, will lead to even more inequality in the market.

The bulk of the world’s cocoa is produced by smallholder farmers on farm sizes of 2 to 3 hectares, barely enough to secure the livelihood of farming families.

Plant-for-the-Plant contends that the exclusion of smallholders and cooperatives from trade with Europe would be an economic disaster for many of these families, who are already struggling due to the consequences of global warming. 

Tracer for smallholders EUDR compliance

The organisation says it is committed to ensuring that forest conservation in the Global South is always carried out together with local communities.

It insists that forest protection cannot function sustainably without taking the economic interests of producers into account.

It was based on this premise that the Plant-for-the-Planet team has innovated a mobile app, known as Tracer, that smallholder farmers can use free of charge to ensure their farms are EUDR compliant.

The Tracer App is said to allow smallholder farmers and cooperatives to document their land themselves and to consult with their trading partners or NGOs in the event of negative results.

The app has already been extensively piloted among cocoa growers in Ghana, the world’s second-largest producer of cocoa beans.

“My farm is in Bodede. I didn’t know about the new law on cocoa farming until I was approached by Plant-for-the-Planet. I am happy that my farm meets the new guidelines and that I can continue to sell my cocoa for export to the EU,” said Abena Antiwaa, a female cocoa farmer from Dompoase in Ghana.

With Plant-for-the-Planet’s Tracer App, smallholder producers gain time and control over their own data and their economic fate.

It also makes it possible for cooperatives to identify potential risks and take measures to ensure they are not excluded from trade with Europe.

“I am happy that I can continue to sell my cocoa and participate in trade with Europe. This secures my income, and I can provide for my children,” intimated Ama Dapaah, another Ghanaian cocoa farmer.

An agricultural extension officer in Ghana, Yussif Mohammed, said, “My impression of the app and the effects of the new regulations are. It will help to increase discipline when it comes to conserving forest areas. It will also help to stop or regulate agricultural activities that contribute greatly to climate destruction, such as the loss of trees and other vegetation.”

According to Plant-for-the-Planet, the Tracer App can also serve as an information tool, as it provides users with the details of the new EU regulation.

The group says studies have indicated that most smallholder farmers who took part in test series in Ghana and Mexico had never heard of the new EU deforestation regulation beforehand.

“They do not know that they are no longer allowed to clear forests if they want to continue exporting to the EU. There is therefore an urgent need for action.”

How does the Tracer app work?

To check a farm’s compliance with the Tracer app, users first enter the geographical data (the polygon) of their farm into the app. The data is then checked for plausibility by a database comparison to avoid input errors.

The database contains, for example, detailed information about the growing regions of the seven agricultural products targeted under the EUDR.

ESA satellite images from today are then compared with those from before 2020 to determine that no deforestation has taken place after 2020 and that production on the plot of land is therefore EUDR-compliant.

It also determines whether the farm is located within one of the world’s 95,000 nature reserves. A satellite image in the app shows which areas are not EU-compliant.

The data can be permanently accessed via the link and can thus be made available to trading partners.

The app can be used for all seven products covered by the new regulation but is primarily aimed at smaller producers of cocoa and coffee.

Tracer is Plant-for-the-Planet’s latest tool for forest protection and restoration. Its FireAlert app was only introduced in 2023 and is now used to monitor an area larger than Brazil.

EU regulation for deforestation-free supply chains

According to the European Union, 420 million hectares of forest have been destroyed worldwide in the three decades since 1990—an area larger than the EU itself.

The loss of forests is having a devastating impact on the climate crisis and biodiversity on Earth.

The EU regulation for deforestation-free supply chains (EUDR) is the most ambitious trade regulation for international forest protection to date.

It is an essential building block in the package of measures needed to completely halt deforestation by 2030. This is a necessary step if we are still to achieve our climate targets.

The EU recognises in its legislation that around 10% of global deforestation between 1990 and 2008 was linked to the consumption of seven agricultural products in EU countries: beef, soy, palm oil, coffee, cocoa, rubber, and timber.

The EUDR makes importers in Europe responsible. From December 30, 2024, they will have to provide proof that no farmland that was cleared after 2020 or that is located in nature conservation areas is used to manufacture their products. Violations could result in import bans into the EU and severe penalties.


The Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation empowers young and old to restore forests and fight for climate justice. To do this, we empower children and youthrestore ecosystems, conduct research, provide free software tools and advise restoration organisations around the world.

Kojo Hayford
Source Cocoa Post
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