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  • Writer's pictureTim Morch

Harnessing EUDR Compliance to Benefit Smallholder Cacao Farmers in Thailand

Updated: Jul 4

List of products that EUDR applies to.

The impending European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) has sparked debate, with contrasting perspectives on its potential repercussions. Opponents emphasize the financial burden and technological challenges smallholder farmers may face, while supporters advocate for its role in promoting sustainability and transparency in the supply chain.

Opponents claim the cost of geolocation and supply chain verification will hurt farmers. They argue the average smallholder farmer cannot afford the necessary technology to accomplish these goals and will lose EU market opportunities.

Supporters of EUDR advocate for sustainability and transparency in the supply chain. They argue that regulation is essential to ensure that farms remain deforestation-free and that supply chains are traceable and verifiable. Moreover, they contend that EUDR presents an opportunity to uplift smallholder farmers and their communities, countering the indifference of certain industry segments.

At ECOSHIFT, we believe EUDR compliance presents a unique opportunity to empower smallholder cacao farmers in Thailand by building sustainable, verifiable supply chains. Our mission is to re-think sustainability for these farmers and leverage technology and industry expertise to enhance quality, increase productivity, and improve their livelihoods. Embracing compliance enables access to market opportunities while contributing to sustainable practices.

Helping Smallholder Cacao Farmers in Thailand Grow Sustainable Livelihoods

Thailand’s smallholder cacao farmers encounter numerous obstacles in the market, including inconsistent processes and fluctuating prices. ECOSHIFT offers a reliable solution to address these challenges, providing farmers with tools and resources for transparent supply chain verification and traceability.

We help smallholder cacao farmers improve growing and post-harvest techniques, boost output sustainably, and ensure EUDR compliance by providing free tools and resources for transparent end-to-end supply chain verification and traceability.

Our first-mile data integration for partner farms, in partnership with farmer connect, includes polygon data and satellite-based deforestation assessments to comply with EUDR regulations.

ECOSHIFT Value Proposition

EUDR Compliance: Empowering Farmers for a Sustainable Future

European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) compliance is a prerequisite for products entering the EU market, effective December 31, 2024. Despite concerns about its impact, compliance offers significant benefits, including access to premium markets and risk mitigation against environmental degradation. Non-compliance can result in fines of up to 4% of company turnover within the EU, a serious business risk.

ECOSHIFT is committed to environmental stewardship and social responsibility in global supply chains. We promote ethical sourcing, protection of human rights, and preserving natural ecosystems in alignment with EUDR and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ensuring products do not contribute to deforestation, habitat destruction, or human rights violations.

“Operators shall not place relevant products on the market or export them without prior submission of a due diligence statement.”


ECOSHIFT recognizes compliance as an opportunity to empower smallholder farmers who can gain access to a marketplace that values transparency, sustainability, and ethical practices.

We are scaling sustainable agricultural production, bridging the gap between farmers and markets, and building a path to agricultural production that benefits smallholder farmers. The model fuses traditional farming techniques, modern practices, and technology for responsible growth. Technological support, expert guidance, and training equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to pave the way for their products to enter the European market.

Economic Prosperity Through Compliance

The ECOSHIFT model demonstrates that EUDR compliance need not burden smallholder farmers. By partnering with companies that purchase ECOSHIFT-backed cacao, farmers can access premium market opportunities and command higher prices.

Here’s how it works: companies that purchase ECOSHIFT-backed cacao from smallholder farmers pay a modest premium to ensure EUDR compliance and traceability. This premium covers the costs associated with compliance and serves as a testament to the value placed on ethical sourcing and sustainable production practices.

Moreover, EUDR compliance opens doors to premium market opportunities, where discerning consumers are willing to pay a premium for products that adhere to standards. By aligning with EUDR requirements, smallholder cacao farmers can benefit from higher prices for their produce, thereby improving their income and livelihoods. The symbiotic relationship between compliance and economic empowerment underscores the transformative potential of EUDR for smallholder farmers.

The benefits of EUDR compliance:

  • Market Access: EUDR compliance opens doors to the EU and beyond, where discerning consumers are willing to pay a premium for ethically sourced products. Smallholder farmers can command higher product prices, improving their income and livelihoods.

  • Risk Mitigation: EUDR compliance helps mitigate risks associated with environmental degradation. Farmers safeguard their long-term viability and resilience in the face of global challenges by adopting sustainable farming practices and adhering to due diligence requirements.

  • Capacity Building: Compliance with EUDR means implementing due diligence measures, including traceability systems, risk assessments, and stakeholder engagement.

  • Partnerships and Collaboration: EUDR compliance fosters partnerships and collaboration across the cacao value chain, from farmers and cooperatives to buyers and researchers. By aligning with ethical chocolate brands and businesses committed to responsible sourcing, smallholder farmers can amplify the impact of their compliance efforts, creating synergies that benefit all stakeholders.

EUDR as a Tool for Empowerment

EUDR compliance has been occasionally misconstrued as a barrier to entry for smallholder farmers, particularly in developing countries. However, closer examination suggests that EUDR is a shield against exploitation and a catalyst for sustainable development.

One common misconception is that EUDR compliance imposes financial burdens on smallholder farmers, rendering them economically vulnerable. The ECOSHIFT model demonstrates that compliance can be achieved at zero cost to farmers through strategic partnerships and innovative solutions. By leveraging technology and expert guidance, smallholder farmers can comply without compromising their financial stability.

Our experience enrolling smallholder cacao farmers demonstrates that flexibility and adaptability are integral to achieving compliance. We empower farmers to implement sustainable practices that align with EUDR standards through customized solutions while respecting their cultural and contextual nuances.

Partnerships for Impact

Collaboration is key to our approach, with partnerships established across the cacao value chain. Through alliances with ethical chocolate brands and corporations committed to responsible sourcing, we amplify the positive impact of EUDR compliance, positively impacting the lives of smallholder farmers.

With our innovative platform, we're empowering farmers with:

1. Traceability and Transparency: It is essential to track the journey of produce from farm to export to ensure compliance with regulationsOur embedded map feature lets you showcase your product's journey from raw materials to consumers' hands

2. Sustainable Farming Practices: Promoting eco-friendly methods such as agroforestry and conservation agriculture is necessary to preserve the environment.

3. Compliance Management: Facilitating certification processes and ensuring adherence to standards is crucial for the success of the farming industry.

4. Market Access and Equitable Transactions: Providing insights into EU market requirements and connecting farmers with buyers will help farmers access markets and achieve equitable transactions.

5. Collaboration with Researchers: Working with universities, NGOs, and industry associations to promote cacao farming and combat deforestation is essential for the industry's growth and sustainability.

ECOSHIFT: Tech-driven Sustainability

Cultivating a Sustainable Future

At ECOSHIFT, we are committed to championing smallholder farmers and promoting sustainable livelihoods.  By embracing transparency, sustainability, and ethical production, we unlock new avenues for growth, resilience, and prosperity where every cacao bean tells a story.

ECOSHIFT produces premium, sustainably grown, and ethical cocoa using a comprehensive model that benefits farmers, chocolatiers, and the environment.

Learn more about ECOSHIFT and join us on this journey toward sustainable livelihoods for smallholder cacao farmers in Thailand. Together, we can make a difference that transcends borders and transforms lives.

For more information, contact Linda Chevrier at

by Tim Morch, Freelance Writer


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