Fair Vivani cocoa:
Our first own cocoa project

Backgrounds and developments of our "Direct Trade" cocoa project in the Dominican Republic - always up to date

Text:
Alexander Kuhlmann

Photography:
© Sustainable Organic Cocoa Project

14 January 2022

In order to sustainably improve the situation in the origins of our cocoa, we have launched our own "Direct Trade" project for particularly sustainably and fairly produced cocoa in the Dominican Republic together with two strong partners - the Weinrich Chocolate Factory and the Fuparoca Foundation. In this ticker we will keep you up to date with all the latest developments.

We have joined forces with our production partner – the Weinrich chocolate factory – and the Dominican foundation FUPAROCA, Inc. to improve the livelihoods of (initially) 150 cocoa-producing families in the eastern regions of the Dominican Republic. The project was officially launched in October 2020 and is already showing its first successes. Find out exactly what is happening in our newsticker below.

In addition to full traceability of the cocoa back to the farms, other goals of the “Sustainable Organic Cocoa Project” are to increase crop yields and biodiversity on the farms, access to drinking water and the payment of additional premium wages for the farmers. Targeted training is intended to strengthen the farmers in the special requirements of organic cultivation and “Good Agricultural Practices”. This enables them to improve their income and living conditions in the long term.

The “Direct Trade” cocoa from this special project will gradually flow into the production of our VIVANI chocolates.

+++ March 2022 | “A very special family” +++

Weinrich employee Mayari (left picture) is in charge of looking after the “Sustainable Organic Cocoa Project”. A few weeks ago, she visited the Dominican Republic again and met some wonderful people on her trip. For example, a really special family in Higuey. Organic cocoa producers in the third generation. The cocoa farm belonged to Cecilio Berroa’s grandparents. He was born here and grew up under cocoa trees. His wife Carmen is also familiar with cocoa farming since her childhood. Nowadays, their son Marcial Berroa takes care of the cocoa farm.

One hectare of the farm will be renovated in the coming months as part of the “Cocoa Project”, as it currently has a very low productivity. In the process, 1050 cocoa plants will be planted. This is sorely needed, as most of the cocoa trees are already over 100 years old. It is astonishing that in all these years not a bit of land has fallen victim to cattle breeding. You can feel the difference as soon as you enter the farm. The temperature cools down, the climate becomes more humid – you can feel the life. The Berroa family is very proud of their history and their loyalty to cocoa. Mayari met them two years ago, before the project started. The hospitality and passion for their work was overwhelming even then. Later this year, Mayari plans to visit again to see the progress of the finca renovation.

+++ January 2022 | “Water harvesting” +++

The cocoa farms are being renovated and rehabilitated. To ensure a better drinking water supply, some water filters were delivered. Colasa Evita and Jairo Vasquez proudly present their new in-house filter system. A new rainwater harvesting system was also installed.

+++ August 2021 | Workshop “Organic Fertiliser” +++

In the last few weeks, there have been many more workshops for the cocoa producers participating in the project. They were shown how to produce bio-fertilisers and environmentally friendly preparations for pest control. For example, a mixture of powdered avocado seeds, grated coconut and salt works as a “rat poison”. This eco-preparation is then spread in the undergrowth of the cocoa trees and keeps rats away without polluting the soil or causing any further damage. The photos show some of the participants at work.

+++ June 2021 | “Grafting” workshops +++

In the region of La Altagracia in the east of the republic, we have started to show our cocoa producers how to “prop” a cocoa plant. In various workshops, experienced “cocoa technicians” explain how it works. Grafting is a process that allows an existing cacao tree to be enriched with productive branches that increase its overall yield. For this purpose, healthy branches of another tree are inserted into the incised trunk and fixed so that they grow there. This saves time and money, as a new sapling does not have to be pulled up first. Weak trees can also be revitalised ideally by this process and do not need to be felled. Through grafting, even different cocoa varieties can be “docked” onto one tree. A great method to expand the general diversity of one’s own plantation in a space-saving way. The participants are really amazed at what is possible…