March 7, 2022
- Log
Tres Hombres

Crew visit at Conacado (by Martin Keil)

For more than 10 years Tres Hombres has been carrying cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic back to Amsterdam.

On Thursday, the 24th of February the Tres crew went on a field trip to the backland of the island to meet the farmers of the cooperative Conacado. The inner backland is the agricultural center of the country. On the 3 hours bus trip to San Francisco, we saw large plantations of rice and banana passing along the street. The cooperative is a local enterprise that hosts 10,000 cocoa farmers. The annual production is approximately 80,000 tons of cocoa. The small farms are up to a size of 20ha to avoid a monoculture in the area.

Cosme Guerrero, the operational manager, explained the mission of Conacado. Farmers get support from specialists to plant organic cocoa to the highest sustainability standards to increase the crop. They are also shareholders and decision-makers in the annual assembly. This mission results in a higher resilience and independence of the farmer. It also improves the price stability of cocoa and increases the social-political impact of these communities.

Cosme gave us a tour around the modern factory. They produce cocoa powder, oil and butter. In the labs, samples are tested to receive the quality requirement of the licenses. In the factory, the shell of the cocoa bean is separated to be used as a natural fertilizer. In another step, the beans got roasted and ground before becoming the final products. Everything is automated and controlled by computer programs. Solar power is covering 20% of the energy consumption of processing cocoa from 4.2-4.6 Mwh. At the end of our tour, we have got a delicious hot chocolate from their own production. In exchange, we brought some of the chocolate that gets produced in Amsterdam with their beans.

After a local meal with local food, we drove to the village Comedero to visit one of the plantations of organic cocoa. First, the cocoa beans are fermented for 6 days, the process of fermentation increases the flavor of the cocoa. Many customers, like the Europeans, prefer a stronger cacao flavor. On the site, there are greenhouses to dry the cocoa beans. For eight days the beans have to be dried and turned every 45 min with a wooden rake.

On the plantation, the cocoa trees there are up to 80 years old and grow happily in a humid warm climate. The harvest time is between February and May when the fruits are turning yellow and orange. All fruits are harvested by hand. Manuel, one of the farmers who was showing us the plantation emphasized there is a change due to the global warming effect in the last years. Longer dry periods and longer wet periods put the plants under stress with the result of a lower crop and shorter lifespan.

In the late afternoon, we went back by bus passing picturesque villages and landscapes and arrived at our ship at 8 pm. It was a very inspiring trip for all of us.

We gained a deeper understanding and relationship of the farming and processing of cocoa and we were impressed by the strong social mission of the cooperation Conacado. The next day we received 10 tons of cocoa beans in bags of 70kg for the Chocolate Makers in Amsterdam. Their fermented aroma will guide us on our way back to Amsterdam.

Do you enjoy reading our crew's adventures? Imagine being there when you enjoy our products at home!

Similar news

Closing the door to the Caribbean
March 22, 2024
Log
Tres Hombres

Closing the door on the Caribbean (Captain Anne-Flore)

As expected, we have been hit by a front. We are closing the door on the Caribbean and opening the...
Against the wind
March 12, 2024
Log
Tres Hombres

Against the wind (Jordan Hanssen)

At worst this ship is a compelling object. With her sails up, galloping over the sea, she is a thing...
On the way to the Dominican Republic
March 1, 2024
Log
Tres Hombres

On the way to the Dominican Republic (Captain Anne-Flore)

In the evening a fair wind returned to bring us to the mysterious island of Los Aves. For many years,...
Blurry Lines
February 15, 2024
Log
Tres Hombres

Blurry Lines (Kit Schulte)

Where or When Does One Thing End and Another Begin? I had imagined blurry lines, but quickly figured that all...

Subscribe to newsletter

If you sign up for the newsletter, we will be the first to inform you when we publish new sailing routes. The Fairtransport “Sailmail” is packed with exciting sailing adventures, exotic products and the latest news about the ships and their events. You can't miss this one!