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.
Fair Trade is very important for us. It has helped our community and family, and we have better infrastructure. Our way of life has changed for the best. It has validated growers and our products. ”
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 Fair Trade we have accomplished a lot in my community. When we decided to become a part of the Fair Trade market, we were selling our cocoa at the minimum price of 400 Dominican pesos for one quintal. With Fair Trade, we began selling it at a minimum price of 700 pesos. This specific example has helped us a lot, but we have tons of examples… In Cercadillo, we now have a modern and convenient local store and a water well in the community. A classroom at our school has been renovated. I know of a man in this community, he was very poor and with many children. His house was in bad conditions and he could not afford the renovation. Thanks to Fair Trade and the efforts of community members, he now lives in what almost seems like a completely new home. Fair Trade also permits us to repair some roads which is important for us to transfer our cocoa. ”
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.
Computer and Community Centers
Conacado allocated Fair Trade premium funds to build a new computer room and community center with an additional meeting space at their partner cooperative, La Milagrosa. Children of cooperative members enrolled in school use these new facilities to complete assignments. Before the center was built, students traveled 14 kilometers for the closest computer.