Importers of coffee to the European Union are starting to scale back purchases from small farmers in Africa and beyond as they prepare for a landmark EU law that will ban the sale of goods linked to the destruction of forests, a cause of climate change.

Industry sources said the cost and difficulty of complying with the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR), which comes into force late in 2024, meant it was already having unintended impacts that could in time reshape global commodities markets.

Four cited a drying-up of orders in recent months for coffee from Ethiopia, where some 5 million farming families rely on the crop. They warned that sourcing strategies being adopted by companies in advance of the law risk increasing poverty among small scale farmers and raising prices for EU consumers, while also undermining the EUDR's impact on forest conservation.