The new European Union (EU) deforestation-free proposal will need to be adapted to the different supply chain models of a range of commodities, EU trade associations representing the grain, oilseeds, crushing and animal feed sectors have said.

Although supporting the EU’s bid to halt deforestation and allow only imports of deforestation-free products into Europe, there was no “one-size-fits-all” solution, said the three trade associations – EU vegetable oil and protein meal industry association (FEDIOL), EU trade association for cereals, rice, feedstuffs, oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats (COCERAL) and EU feed manufacturers’ federation (FEFAC).

“Tools and processes will have to be adapted to the supply chain models of the different commodities concerned,” the 16 February joint statement said.

Differences between the soya and palm oil sectors were a good example, the associations said, as their supply chains differed substantially depending on where they were sourced.

The associations said the EU’s draft regulation was expected to have a number of negative impacts, such as supply shortages in the EU leading to high prices and challenges to competitiveness in the EU food and feed chain; lack of real impact on deforestation due to lack of leverage and incentives to transform practices on the ground; exclusion of the majority of smallholders and certain mills supplied by smallholders from the supply chains; and disproportionate administrative and logistical burdens for both operators and competent authorities.

To counter the negative impacts, while ensuring deforestation-free supply chains and tackling deforestation on the ground, the associations recommended a range of measures.

These included: adapting the requirements for traceability and chain to the specifications of each commodity; taking smallholder farmers and compatibility with local laws into account when setting traceability requirements; and holding operators responsible for their risk assessment and mitigation practices, subject to audits and controls.