Dominican Republic: Fair Trade Cocoa Harvest

April 25, 2014May 6, 2014

Our Cocoa Fair Harvest program in the Dominican Republic provides a direct connection to the improvements that socially responsible planters, growers, manufacturers and consumers are making less than a two hour flight from Miami. This Reality Tour will include opportunities to trek, volunteer, learn, explore history, and personally witness the close contact between the wealthy and the working poor of one of the United State's closest neighbors. The Dominican Republic has over 9 million people and is more than twice the size of the state of Massachusetts. Global Exchange is encouraging chocolate lovers from around the world to join with our local partners from Grupo CONACADO as we explore benefits of Fair Trade cocoa and sustainable harvest, renewable technology and Geotourism in the Dominican Republic.

The CONACADO cooperative was founded in 1988 and joined the Fair Trade system in 1995. The Dominican Republic's tourism industry has increased significantly in recent years but this has not helped small farmers in the inner part of the country, many of whom are still struggling to survive. Even most of CONACADO's small-scale farmers must also work on bigger plantations because their cocoa revenues do not meet their needs. As a result, farmers are limited in the time and money they can direct towards their own crops. CONACADO has about 9,000 members, who belong to 126 smaller cooperatives that are organized into regional groups called "bloques." Each bloque differs according to member needs, though each has a Board, Assemblies and Producer Committees. Each bloque also organizes exchange visits and workshops focused on agricultural and administrative topics. Local and national staff work with the Producer Committees to develop annual work plans, organize special activities, and evaluate loans. CONACADO's goals are to generate work and income for disadvantaged groups, increase quality and productivity, foster direct trade relationships, and provide credit and technical assistance.

Fair Harvesters will have a diverse experience in the DR: joining in the harvest of cocoa in the Dominican countryside, working and learning every aspect of Fair Trade cocoa production and delivery in the DR, sharing traditional Dominican meals cooked in the ecological technology of solar ovens, and visiting the historic colonial city of Santo Domingo. Participants will live and learn first hand the life of the working poor including the benefits that Fair Trade brings. A wide variety of issues will be witnessed: Fair Labor practices, the issues of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, human trafficking, micro-lending, and sustainable harvest techniques. The trip will feature the activities of one of CONACADO's largest bloques in the country. Join our work to create cultural enrichment through beneficial travel, and help build the path toward development that is designed to leave no local workers behind. Learn extensively about many aspects of Dominican culture, and see how your purchasing preferences toward delicious Fair Trade chocolate have a direct effect on the people who provide the product for you. Help deliver hope for the future, along with your travel dollars, to a country that is one of the most promising developing democracies just a short flight from the United States.

Please email Corina if you would like to recieve a sample itinerary for this delegation.

Program Highlights may include: 
  • Visit a Fair Trade Certified Cooperative, a model which guarantees farmers and workers a fair price for their products—as well as direct access, credit, and support for sustainable agriculture.
  • Live and work with family members of CONOCADO, a fair trade cocoa cooperative in the Dominican Republic.
  • Visit local nature sites and observe wildlife (waterfalls, forests, birds, orchids, etc.).
  • Learn to cook typical foods.
  • Visit various parts of the community, such as the barrios of hacienda laborers.
  • Learn what life is like for non-fair trade cocoa farmers and laborers.
  • Learn about the history of cooperatives and how they are organized.
  • Meet with students, environmentalists and human rights activists working toward social justice.
  • Learn about current relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Price Includes: 
  • Double-room accommodations; ground transportation including airport pick-up and drop-off; Global Exchange bilingual delegation leader; preparatory reading and orientation materials; admission and fees to all program activities; two meals a day (breakfast and dinner).
  • NOT INCLUDED: airfare, airport departure taxes, lunches, tips, and personal expenses. Single rooms are available for an additional $200.
  • Please note: All Global Exchange participants should arrive and depart from Santo Domingo (SDQ), and those arriving and departing on scheduled delegation dates will receive airport transfers. Also, should you have any time constraints, we are happy to accommodate shorter stays.
How to Register: 

To register, please send in your application form and a deposit of $400. Payments by Mastercard, Visa and Discover are welcome. Deposits are non-refundable unless the trip is canceled by Global Exchange as explained below.

Please note: We must meet a minimum number of trip participants on every trip, so please register early!

To ensure that all participants can plan accordingly, the minimum number of participants must be reached within 30 days before departure, or the trip will be canceled. If the trip cancels registered participants can choose to receive a full refund or transfer to a future group. Once a trip is confirmed (reaches the minimum # of participants) registrations may be accepted up to 30 days before the departure date.

This trip will be as diverse as possible in terms of race, age and life experiences. In some cases, a limited number of partial scholarships are available for low-income applicants.

We specialize in creating customized Reality Tours that are educational, fun, and positively influence international affairs. Learn more about our customized travel options.