Dominican Republic Cocoa
Now fully handed over to the government, GCP helped set-up and initally facilitate the National Cocoa Platform in the Dominican Republic.
Some 40,000 small-scale producers in the Dominican Republic produce high-grade, organic and fine flavour cocoa in farms mostly set up by converting forestland. But, out-dated agricultural practices and lack of financial means to invest in their plots has resulted in low crop yields and little profit, leaving farmer´s incomes at poverty level. This negative cycle discourages the younger generations from cultivating cocoa, putting the future of the sector at risk.
In 2013, the Government of the Dominican Republic started working with the Green Commodities Programme to address some of these key sustainability issues in the cocoa sector. Establishing the National Cocoa Platform was a vital step to coordinate sector-wide responses. Led by the Ministry of Agriculture and National Cocoa Commission, and with the involvement of relevant government institutions, cocoa growers and cooperatives, exporters, NGOs and civil society as well as research institutions, the Platform delivered by 2015 a 10-year National Action Plan detailing key measures to:
- Boost support to farmers through an innovative new system that involves both the public and private sector.
- Develop curriculums and needed training material for farmers - Set up outlets where farmers can get planting materials, fertilizers and pest management products.
- Revise conflicting regulations governing the cocoa sector A strategic partnership with Mondelēz International, the world’s largest chocolate company and the largest buyer of cocoa in the country, was key to establishing the Platform.