FAIR TRADE & ORGANIC
Our diary milk chocolate fish has been made with 33% fair trade organic cocoa beans form the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Peru, and golden granulated sugar from Paraguay, all sourced directly from farmer co-operatives - then mixed with Kiwi milk here in New Zealand.
OUR COCOA FARMERS
Cocoa has been coming in all day, by truck, on motorbike and on horseback. Picked earlier in the day, the cocoa is packed into plastic sacks that weigh anything up to 90kg each. The cocoa beans, not yet fermented, are white in colour and the sacks of beans are sodden wet.
The local collection and processing centre on the edge of Yamasa is run by Bloque no. 2, a regional branch of the CONACADO co-operative, and is a hive of activity. It’s Wednesday, one of the two days of the week when cocoa beans are delivered to the processing centre through a tightly controlled system that ensures that the volumes received on a given day do not overwhelm the available fermentation boxes and drying racks.
Elsewhere at the facility, cocoa beans which had been delivered the previous week are being turned out of fermentation boxes. By now they are brown-coloured and smell like sweet, rotten bananas. Turned out onto racks, they will be dried over a period of several days until they are ready to be packed into export-ready sacks.
Other dried beans are being packed and stored and others still are being loaded into containers for shipment to the port of Santo Domingo. Sixty men are employed to do the hot, heavy work of processing the cocoa.
Many of the farmers whose beans are being delivered today have travelled with their beans, oversee the weighing of their beans on a set of scales and take the receipts they are then given to the nearby cashier window.
Maria de Jesus Gonzalez has journeyed in with her ten sacks of cocoa and waits anxiously while her white sacks – each clearly marked with maroon-coloured string – are unloaded from the truck and are weighed. Only once she has her receipt safely in her hand does she relax a little and explain the reasons why she joined her local branch of CONACADO.
‘CONACADO offers me better and more stable prices than I used to get. They pay me well, and they weigh my beans properly; when I sold my cocoa beans to regular traders they ripped me off both on price and on weight. And now I also get a bonus payment at the end of the harvest!’
‘The fair trade social premium that CONACADO earns has changed my life in another way; to get water, I used to have to travel half an hour each way to collect it from a natural spring. We needed to make several trips each day to collect enough water for our domestic use. Now our association has helped us to put in a well in our neighbourhood and I don’t have to walk any distance at all for my water!’