June 17, 2021


Cocoa Producer Finds Success Learning from Other Farmers
Nagua is a small town in the Dominican Republic, and locals would not describe it as an agricultural hub. But Nagua native Pedro Martínez is committed to continuing the family…

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April 8, 2021

Biofcacao is a growing cocoa processing and export company nestled in the hilly Dominican town of Villa Altagracia. The company draws on local producers and is an important driver of the local economy.

Biofcacao has been around since 1998. In the last few years, the company has earned several international certifications to respond to increased global demand for Dominican cocoa. These certifications include Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, USDA…

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March 11, 2021

There are a few reasons why people might prefer an alternative to pizza made with classic wheat-based dough, for example, food allergies or taste preferences. Dominican Chef Valeria García saw an opportunity for her to re-imagine pizza and transform the way diners consume this popular dish. After studying abroad at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, she created a recipe for pizza dough that uses cauliflower-based…

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February 21, 2021 Gualberto Acebey gives a tour of the Öko-Caribe facility during the Dominican National Chocolate Festival.

Gualberto Acebey is not your typical cocoa producer. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he is always taking risks and trying new things. At a young age, Acebey started making craft chocolate in San Francisco de Macorís, the cocoa capital of the Dominican Republic….

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December 22, 2020

New Ideas and Industry Expertise Improve Vegetable Sales from Dominican Republic
It is not easy to be an exporter of any product, but exporting fresh produce carries higher inherent risks. In the Dominican Republic, the Asian Vegetable Producer Association (ASAGEN) encountered a steep learning curve when they started their business in 2013. Out of their first 19 shipments, 13 were rejected at their destination because mismanagement of the cold…

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November 23, 2020

Entrepreneurs Use the Power of Their Network to Adapt and Respond in a Crisis
Since November 2017, a group of more than 100 young entrepreneurs in Dominican Republic have formed a network for the purpose of exchanging technical knowledge, sharing experiences, and exchanging business contacts. The idea for the network emerged from a new generation of younger exporters wanting to change the status quo. In their view, business as usual in the…

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October 5, 2020

Gourmet cocoa products with special tastes of the Caribbean
Belarmino Rodríguez using the cacao powder filler machine.

Belarmino Rodríguez is well known for his infectious enthusiasm for his work. He started his own business in 1991 with a particular goal in mind: to establish a unique Caribbean line of wellness and gourmet food products. The name of his company was…

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October 16, 2017

Commitment to Safe Practices Reaps Rewards for Dominican Exporters
In October 2016, fruit and vegetable exporter Exportadora Cruz Bautista found itself in a troublesome situation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration detected salmonella in a shipment of hot peppers on their way the United States from the Dominican Republic. The presence of the bacteria landed the exporter on the “automatic detention” list, which means that every single one…

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September 1, 2017

Helping a $70 million export industry battle a microscopic pest
Guido Morel on his farm in La Vega, the heart of oriental vegetable production in the Dominican Republic.Photo: Arquimedes Forchue Almonte

Guido Morel’s Chinese eggplant and Indian Bitter melon grow amid rows of vibrant yellow marigolds and sunflowers on his farm in the heart of oriental vegetable…

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March 3, 2017

by Riamny Méndez

Narcisa Bautista recalls that in 1981, when she began working as a secretary at a produce export business in La Vega, Dominican Republic, there were no women in charge of such export companies.

Eighteen years later, when Narcisa became owner of the same company at which she began as a secretary, there were still no women in charge of similar companies. Narcisa grew her career and developed leadership skills in a…

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March 1, 2017

By Julissa Almanzar 

The smell of chocolate in the air is heady, even a bit distracting, as I sit down to talk with about 10 women who run Chocolala and Chocal, two factories in the northern Altamira region of Dominican Republic. They came together to tell the history of their businesses and how hard they have worked to build them, persevering despite significant personal and societal obstacles, and how their economic empowerment is in turn…

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March 4, 2016

By Lily Alcock 

Margarita de los Santos

It’s obvious within the first few minutes of talking with Margarita de los Santos that she is a powerhouse. Quick to crack a joke but just as eager to get down to business, Margarita is the sort of magnetic person who has a natural ability to inspire you to match her tempo. Daughter and mother, aunt and friend, she is part of…

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