Direct trade is a concept that started with coffee and has been extending to cocoa for some years.
It's about having a direct commercial relationship with those who produce, purchasing 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.
In our case, we ourselves are producers , but we also buy from other producer friends, establishing direct relationships.
We talk, we chat on WhatsApp, we laugh, and we make very precious alliances, we send each other photos and videos "look, we made chocolate with your cocoa and it's delicious"; or :"we have just finished installing the new drying nets: what do you think?".
We purchase cocoa at a price that is 2-3 times higher than that of the "Fair-Trade" trade, to give a more concrete reference. And this price is directly paid to those who produce. We are proud of it, but we would like to do more.
With this approach, we deal with both export and import independently. This is how we are structuring our Italian-Salvadorian supply chain.
Opting for direct trade is not at all easy. It is expensive, since, especially at the beginning, filling an entire container with cocoa is not always economically viable. However, maritime costs are considerable, not counting internal transport from finca to finca, and to the port of exit. As well as the arrival in Sardengna LOL. It is necessary to count on economic resources, immediate cash flow, without mentioning the difficulties in exporting from the country of origin and in importing (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 your esteem and trust.
Just to clarify: we use a hybrid system. From El Salvador the trade is directed by 4 different fincas. From Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, although we know the cooperatives, we rely on a specialty cocoa intermediary, whom we trust, who allows us to also have these origins, until we have the opportunity to consolidate everything in 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 their value, but there are very few who do so.
In essence, 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.