Producer Profiles

CONACADO - Coordinadora Nacional Cacaocultores Dominicanos

Confederación Nacional de Cacaocultores Dominicanos, or CONACADO, is one of the island country’s top three cocoa producing and exporting entities. Around 85 percent of cocoa grown by CONACADO’s members is certified organic, and most is grown under the shade of canopy fruit-producing trees.

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.
 

Quotable

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

My family benefited from a few projects like the renovation of our school and the construction of a water well. We also received clothes, shoes and school grants for our children.  

Nector, CONACADO Member Since 1992

[To Fair Trade buyers] With all my heart, I want to thank them because they consume our products. I am glad they are satisfied. They consume a high quality product we are proud of and the more they consume them, the more proud and satisfied I am.  

Santo Moreno

Programs

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.

Health Programs

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.

Interest-Free Loans

The cooperative provides members with interest-free loans and access to credit.