The Nitty Gritty
Most Recent Visit by Taza: June, 2018
Country: Dominican Republic
Number of Farmers: 180
Number of Female Farmers: 25
Numbers of Hectares Certified Organic: 1299
Total Cacao Exported: 382 MT
Chocolate Maker Customers: 73
Awards Won: 16
Annual volume purchased by Taza: 50.4 metric tons
Average price paid by Taza*: $3,100 per metric ton
Over the last decade, Adriano Rodriguez and Gualberto Acebey’s innovations in quality have transformed the Dominican Republic’s cacao industry. Most people would be satisfied with this accomplishment. When I visited OKO Caribe in June, I was reminded me that the company’s co-founders are not most people.
As we walked through their cacao processing plant, the lifelong entrepreneurs shared thoughts on their next business opportunity. Several craft chocolate customers had recently inquired about cocoa butter and powder, cacao-derivatives typically manufactured in Europe and the US. OKO had even received interest from chocolatiers - individuals who make confections - asking if the company would make and sell them chocolate for use with caramels, nuts and other treats.
Adriano and Gualberto know that manufacturing large volumes of cocoa butter, cocoa powder and chocolate would require major investment. They have decided to take things one step at a time, beginning with the inauguration of the small chocolate factory they began constructing in 2016. When it opens, they’ll realize their vision of sharing chocolate making with Dominican farmers and their children who, as Gualberto explains, “know cacao but have never seen how it is transformed into chocolate.”
Whether OKO Caribe’s chocolate factory remains educational or eventually grows into a commercial enterprise is an open question. In either form, it’s another example of Adrian and Gualberto’s ongoing innovation and passion for growing a more dynamic chocolate industry in the Dominican Republic.
*Price Paid by Taza is on FOB terms and equal to the negotiated fixed price or to the negotiated premium plus the world market price on the day the contract is closed.