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Ivory Coast Tackles Deforestation By Tracking Cocoa

FILE- Farmer Issiaka Ouedraogo arranges cocoa beans, laid out to dry on reed mats, on a cocoa farm outside the village of Fangolo, near Duekoue, Ivory Coast, May 31, 2011.

Ivory Coast expects all its cocoa will be traceable by October next year as the world's top cocoa producer tackles deforestation ahead of a looming European Union forest protection law.

Late last year, the EU proposed a law aimed at preventing the import of commodities linked to deforestation, requiring companies prove their supply chains are not contributing to the problem.

"Implementation of the traceability system for all cocoa from the field to the exporters' factory (will occur in the) 2023/2024 campaign," said Yves Brahima Kone, head of the Cocoa and Coffee Council (CCC), Ivory Coast's cocoa regulator.

Kone spoke to Reuters on the sidelines of the European Cocoa Association (ECA) Forum in Rome.

The proposed law sets mandatory due diligence rules for importers of soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa and coffee into the EU. It is expected to pass by 2023.

The law will require companies in the EU to collect geographic coordinates showing where commodities they buy were produced, and to monitor these locations for forest loss via satellite images.

However, cocoa companies often source from an indirect supply chain over which they have little visibility. As a result, producing countries are under pressure to trace cocoa so that their EU exports are not jeopardized.

The indirect supply chain includes farmers, cooperatives, local traders and exporters. According to the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), an industry group, around half of world bean supply is sourced indirectly.

Many European companies operate in countries where environmental abuses are rife, but there is currently no EU-wide requirement for them to fix risks to the environment in their global supply chains.

Emissions from the land-use sector, mostly from deforestation, are the second major cause of climate change after the burning of fossil fuels, European Commission data shows.