The Caribbean island has unique, fine-flavoured cocoa that has won prestigious recognition in product quality in the past decade, and the government has announced an investment of RD$60m ($1m) from the Special Fund for Agricultural Development (Feda) to ‘promote the industry and consumption of chocolate’.
A spokesperson said the initiative is being facilitated through workshops for stakeholders to improve the quality of their products.
The new cash injection will boost the agro-industrialisation of Dominican cocoa, financing and supporting small and medium-sized chocolate manufacturers, grouped in associations and cooperatives, mainly women-led, to improve their production and quality.
Feda director Hecmilio Galván told local media and cocoa farmers: “the Feda presents to you this plan that aims to take advantage of the positioning of organic cocoa cultivation, in which the Dominican Republic is the world’s leading exporter.”
The Dominican Republic is a global leader of organic cocoa-producing unique, high-quality and fine cocoa, and exporting 70,000 tonnes each year. The Caribbean country boasts 150,000 hectares planted with cocoa by 40,000 producers, with 36,236 farms registered, of which 16.5% are engaged in the production of organic cocoa, which can command premium prices over conventional cocoa.
In the past, the island’s low productivity has been disrupted by an ageing mostly male workforce, poor infrastructure and inadequate disaster preparedness, as it lies in the Caribbean hurricane belt.