Fairtrade is important to us, all our products are Fairtrade or Eco-Cert Fairtrade. It's vital to us that we help the farmers achieve higher yields and better cocoa, this way we they can sell their cocoa for a premium that is not just a fairtrade premium but a premium based on quality and sustainability.
All of our Certified Fairtrade Products come from the same co-operative Conacado, located at the very centre of the Caribbean, in the Dominican Republic. Not everything in our country is as sweet as chocolate. The Dominican Republic is the second poorest country in the Caribbean. Recent numbers indicate that 42 % of the population lives under the poverty line (UNDP 2004), and 16% under extreme poverty. Presently, farmers only receive 72% of the global market price while exporters keep the difference to cover their costs and ensure profits. This income is barely enough to feed producers families during harvests. The rest of the year, they find themselves obligated to work as labourers.
But CONACADO and its member’s have taught farmer’s groups how to improve the quality of their plantations and their harvests and in doing so, how to increase their earnings to improve living condition and better their housing.
Furthermore, CONACADO returns profits to its members. At the end of the harvest season, our growers receive more than 90% of the global market price. Therefore, less cocoa farmers abandon their properties every year. This reinforces rural and community infrastructure development and has an impact on the preservation and conservation of the nearby forests.
"The great thing about Fairtrade is that it enables cocoa farmers like me to have a say in shaping our future through talking and working directly with retailers and companies. Our biggest worry is ensuring that we have a guaranteed market for our cocoa that provides us with long-term sustainable livelihoods. Through the pricing structure and the Fairtrade premium we will be able to invest in both our business and our community to ensure a brighter future for our family, other farmers and our friends."
Santos Mendoza, President, CONACADO
You can find out more about our suppliers on our "facts" links.