My name is José and I belong to Conacado, a cocoa cooperative with more than ten thousand members.
The humid, tropical climate makes the Dominican Republic an ideal place to grow cocoa. But the island is often affected by hurricanes that can destroy our houses and cocoa fields. We would find it very hard to recover from such disasters without the support of the cooperative and the fair-trade premium.
The average cocoa farmer has about 2.5 hectares of land. But the Dominican Republic is the biggest exporter of organic cocoa in the world. Conacado is the market leader in the fermented variety, Hispaniola cocoa. Fermentation improves the aromas: our cocoa always produces marvellous chocolate, and we are proud of that! Conacado works hard to negotiate good terms for us.
Fair trade gives us extra advantages: the contracts take more account of the farmers’ situation. But private companies only want the best price – for themselves, of course. Conacado tracks the market rate for us so that we get the best price. And because about half of our production is sold on fair-trade terms, we receive a substantial fair-trade premium. We invest this in basic supplies, renovating houses, and fermenting and drying plants.