Fermentation gives the cocoa beans a strong, pleasing odor, and also greatly enhances the flavor of the end product. Farmer’s that ferment their cocoa will receive approximately $4 more per 50 kilos; organic, fermented cocoa receives $6 more per 50 kilos. So while fermentation and organic certification require an initial investment of time and money, the long term economic benefit is significant.
Through outreach and education, Alejandro and his colleagues have made great progress encouraging farmers to ferment their cocoa. Their next great challenge lies in changing the market image of Dominican cocoa. They must convince buyers, processors, and consumers that the Dominican Republic does indeed offer high quality, organic cocoa.