Europe’s coffee industry has urged the European Union to delay the implementation of its ground-breaking deforestation rules citing a potentially devastating impact on millions of growers.

The EU’s ban on imports of commodities produced on newly deforested land will force companies to trace their supplies back to a plot of land and submit the proof, which includes geolocation coordinates of farms. Failing to do so will result in costly penalties. 

If implemented on Dec. 30 as planned, “the disruptions will be shattering, not least for the millions of smallholder producers for whom the EU is a significant marketplace,” the European Coffee Federation said in a letter obtained by Bloomberg News. Some 80% of coffee farmers haven’t mapped their plots and wouldn’t know how to properly participate in the exercise, it said citing a preliminary survey from the International Coffee Organization.

“The implementation and the timeframe are proving to be a challenge not only for the entire coffee sector and related stakeholders, but also for the EU competent authorities,” the Brussels-based trade association said in the letter to European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen.

The development of compliance support tools has been slow, leading the organization to call on the commission to reconsider the EUDR’s implementation and timing, according to the letter. 

The commission has received the letter and will reply in due course, according to a spokesperson.

The Brussels-based organization represents 90% of the European coffee trade and industry including companies like Nestle SA, Illycaffe SpA and Olam Food Ingredients. Its members import more than 2.5 million tons of coffee grown by 12.5 million farmers in 60 countries. 

The “ECF and its members remain fully committed to the spirit of the EUDR and will continue to work to ensure that the overall objective set out by the European Commission is met by all, when the time is right, without the numerous unintended consequences,” the letter said.