Il Direct trade it is a concept that began with coffee and has been extending into cocoa for some years now.
It is a question of having a direct commercial relationship with those who produce, buying directly, without having to intercede with the famous “intermediaries” or “brokers”.
By adopting this approach, those who buy form a direct relationship with those who produce.
I our case, we ourselves are producers, but we also buy from other producer friends, establishing direct relationships.
We talk, chat on whatsapp, laugh, and make precious alliances, we send photos and videos "look, we made chocolate with your cocoa and it's very good"; or: “we have just finished installing the new drying nets: what do you think?”.
We buy cocoa at a price even 2-3 times higher than that of the “Fair-Trade” trade, to give a more concrete reference. And this price is directly recognized to those who produce. We are proud of it, but we would like to do more.
With this approach, we take care of both export and import independently. This is how we are structuring our Italian-Salvadoran supply chain.
Opting for direct trade is by no means easy. It is expensive, since, especially at the beginning, filling an entire container of cocoa is not always economically viable. The maritime costs are still considerable, not counting internal transport from finca to finca, and up to the port of exit. As well as the arrival in Sardengna LOL It is necessary to count with economic resources, immediate cash-flow, without mentioning the difficulties to export from the country of origin and to import (documentation, permits, certificates, local and maritime transport, policies, contracts , etc).
We have been doing it since we started, facing a thousand difficulties; but there is nothing more exciting than preparing a container that leaves from El Salvador and reaches Olbia, knowing that it was the result of our work, possible thanks to people like you who support projects like ours, giving us yours esteem and trust.
Just to clarify: we use a hybrid system. From El Salvador the trade is managed by 4 different fincas. From Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, even if we know the cooperatives, we rely on a specialty cocoa broker, whom we trust, which allows us to have these origins as well, as long as we do not have the opportunity to consolidate everything into a single Central American country for export. Sometimes cocoa producers originally also need to sell large volumes and fortunately, there are intermediaries who know how to recognize the value, but very few do so.
Basically, our supply chain is made up of ourselves, who buy our own cocoa and export-import it, or when we buy from other producers (direct trade) or from intermediaries we trust.