HAND IN HAND - CONaCADO / Dominican Republic
In the tropical lowlands of the Dominican Republic the members of the small farmers´ cooperative CONACADO grow their cocoa, of which RAPUNZEL chocolate and other RAPUNZEL cocoa products consist of.
About 8000 farmers, all being part of the cooperative, meanwhile do farming according to organic standards. The farmers are organized in sub-groups, so called “bloques”, with about 400 – 3,500 farmers in each of them. The “bloques” have their own administration units and each “bloque” buys cocoa directly from the farmer.
|members of the cooperative Conacado|
Cultivating and processing organic cocoa
As young cocoa plants need shade in order to grow well, they are planted under shade trees. The families of the farmers themselves or workers take care of the trees, keep the plantations clean and do the harvesting of the fruits. Each “bloque” has its own agricultural technician advising the farmers in cultivation.
The yellow to dark-red coloured cocoa fruits are harvested. Then the bean-shaped seeds are removed of the fresh fruits. Together with the sweetly, white pulp - the flesh of the fruit – the seeds are fermented. During fermentation* alterations in the chemical and physical structure are occurring within the cocoa beans. Through this process cocoa develops its typical colour and flavour, which fully unfolds after roasting it.
|The cocoa beans are being fermented in these boxes.|
After having been dried under the tropical sun, the handpicked cocoa is packed in bags and stored until it´ll be shipped to Europe. The beans are roasted at a European cocoa processor in order to produce cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
HAND IN HAND with the farmers of Conacado
As Conacado (www.conacado.com.do) is a grass-roots democratic cooperative, farmers have a say in all decisions concerning the cooperative through the representatives elected by them.
* Treatment by which a substance is stored at warm temperatures throughout a certain period, whereby micro organisms and enzymes (ferments) cause chemical alterations (particularly in use for the refinement of luxury foodstuffs, such as tea, tobacco, coffee, cocoa) – Cited from: Bertelsmann
|drying of the cocoa beans|