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

Our biggest worry is ensuring we have a guaranteed market for our cocoa, which would provide us with a long-term sustainable livelihood.

Through the Fair Trade pricing structure and premium, we will be able to invest both in our business and community, fulfilling a brighter future for our families and other farmers.  

Santos Mendoza, president of CONACADO

FairTrade has an impact in our lives because our community benefits from social and economic developments.  

Nector. CONACADO Member Since 1992

The connections and additional funds the Fair Trade market has generated, more than anything, has helped us develop socially. The money comes through CONACADO down to the association member level and helps us establish valuable social and development programs within our communities. From projects created to repair our roads to the construction of schools, premium-funded programs benefit everyone, not just one individual. There are many needs here, and many things we lack. The needs outweigh what is produced, but at least through Fair Trade, producers are subsisting and are able to invest back into the community through social programs. I would like to thank you, the consumer, because you are making it possible for us to produce cocoa of such high quality and still have buyers.  

Cristobal Mejia

Programs

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.

Transportation Infrastructure Maintenance

CONACADO used Fair Trade funds for road and bridge maintenance.

Interest-Free Loans

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