CONACADO - Coordinadora Nacional Cacaocultores Dominicanos
Founded in 1988 as a response to low global cocoa prices, CONACADO aims to decrease members' dependency on middlemen by exporting their products directly to consumer markets.
CONACADO is a democratically-run cooperative
made up of 182 small-scale producer associations from seven regional “blocks” and an estimated 10,040 farmer members, each working on lands averaging 4.3 hectares, or 10.6 acres, in size.
Fair Trade market sales have enabled CONACADO to set up a nursery that supplies low-cost plants to farmers, so they can grow most of their own food. Cocoa accounts for 90 percent of CONACADO's members’ cash income, so becoming Fair Trade Certified™ has made a significant difference in farmers’ lives.
The cooperative also implements a “Cocoa Tour” ecotourism program which teaches international visitors about cocoa farming and the impact of Fair Trade. Farmers are trained as tour guides and members of the cooperative’s Women’s Community Group also help with this project. Other women from cocoa-growing families have started small businesses making cocoa wine, jams, bakery goods, chocolate truffles and community crafts which are displayed and sold from a nearby artisan hut. The chocolates and truffle equipment were funded by USAID, the rest by the Fair Trade premium.
We have light and we have water, and if we have this in our farms, there is no need for us to migrate to the town or city. ”
Ramón Emilio Polanco, Producer
With the income from Fair Trade we were able to implement a fermentation program to improve the quality of our cocoa and convert our production to certified organic. This improved our position in the Fair Trade market which is very important for the survival of our associates. ”
Isidoro de la Rosa
It is a great benefit for women who used to walk five kilometers to the river. ”
The cooperative invested in a rural health care center when a community’s clinic failed to meet the community’s basic health needs. They also provided free medical assistance and informational sessions on STDs.
Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance
CONACADO used Fair Trade funds for road and bridge maintenance.
Scholarships and School Construction
CONACADO supported the construction of a new school and contributed to school repairs in five regional sections of the cooperative. Low-income students received scholarships and school materials to support their studies.