Most Recent Visit: May 2016
Country: Dominican Republic
Number of Farmers: 180
Number of Female Farmers: 25
Numbers of Hectares Certified Organic: 1,299
Annual volume purchased: 126 metric tons
Price model*: World market price + $700 per metric ton (3.5x the Fairtrade premium)
Price paid by Taza**: $3711 per metric ton
Price paid to Farmers***: $2694 per metric ton
Percent paid to Farmers: 73%
Additional Benefits to Farmers: Centralized cacao fermentation and drying; Subsidized cacao seedlings
The Upside: Labor of Love
The Challenge: Local Goliaths
Each year, ÖKO Caribe’s co-founders Gualberto Acebey Torrejon and Adriano de Jesus Rodriguez collect, ferment and dry approximately 500 metric tons of organic cacao. This volume is far greater than our other partners, and yet in the Dominican Republic, it is a modest amount. Unlike the countries of Belize and Haiti, the DR has a large and evolved cacao market that exports nearly 80,000 metric tons per year.
Despite its size, the country’s cacao sector is dominated by only a few companies. These exporters benefit from economies of scale that reduce their operational costs and increase their market power. For Adriano and Gualberto, keeping up with the local goliaths demands skill, smarts and a lot of hard work. To keep their 180 member farmer network from selling to the competition, ÖKO Caribe builds close relationships with producers and pays good prices. This past year, they paid $2694 per metric ton of cacao, equal to 73% of the price paid by Taza to ÖKO Caribe. In 2017, ÖKO will further support farmers by distributing subsidized cacao seedlings to increase farm yields and family income.
In addition to farmer engagement, Gualberto and Adriano differentiate ÖKO Caribe through an obsessive commitment to quality. They collect cacao beans from farms within hours of harvest, even if it means driving dirt roads late into the night. Then, they oversee the fermentation and drying process with knowledge accumulated over decades of work. These efforts guarantee ÖKO Caribe’s cacao beans consistently deliver award-winning quality, the value of which benefits everyone in the supply chain, from cacao farmer to chocolate aficionado.
*For Taza's purposes, a cacao price is fixed when the dollar amount is agreed upon and will not be affected by daily fluctuations in the world market price. In turn, it allows the partner to guarantee a fixed price to farmers at the start of the harvest season. Alternatively, Taza and a partner may negotiate a premium above the fluctuating world market price. This is a more common model in the industry and one used by Fair Trade, among others. The complexity and pros and cons of each model are outside the scope of this report.
**Price Paid by Taza is equal to the negotiated fixed price or to the negotiated premium plus the world market price on the day the contract is closed.
***Price Paid to Farmers is calculated as the average price paid by the partner to farmers between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016.