We’ve carefully blended fabulous local, organic maple sugar from Citadelle Maple Syrup Producers’ Co‑operative in Québec with fair trade and organic cocoa and sugar from our small‑scale farmer co‑operatives to make a truly Canadian hot chocolate. We hope you love this delicious blend of co‑operative partnerships as much as we do!
Since 1925, the producer owners of Citadelle Maple Syrup Producers’ Co‑operative have led the development and innovation of the maple syrup industry in Québec. Originally formed to counter the exploitative practices and artificially low prices from powerful business interests, the co-operative broke the buyers’ monopoly and put together structures for collecting, storing, and marketing maple syrup. Over the past ninety years, the co-operative has delivered value to its members by building storage and processing facilities and inventing new products. Citadelle was the first organization to create maple butter (1932), maple concentrate (1935), and maple taffy (2003).
This is going to sound real familiar! In 1975, a group of outreach workers in the Arroyos y Estrenos district of Paraguay provided small loans and support programs for marginalized small-scale sugar cane farmers who faced exploitative practices and artificially low prices from powerful business interests. In 1992, the farmers went on strike and withheld their cane from the local mill, facing hunger and retaliation in the process but ultimately winning higher prices. Recognizing the power of working together, the co-operative applied for fair trade licensing in 1995, began keeping ownership of their cane and exporting in 2003, and built a processing facility in 2013. Over the past 24 years, the co-operative has delivered value to its members by developing the fair trade and organic market, providing technical assistance to increase yields, and taking over the milling, storage and export of the processed sugar. Manduvira has the first small-farmer-owned sugar mill in Paraguay.
In 2002, small-scale cocoa farmers in the Yamasa region of the Dominican Republic organized the co-operative FUNDOPO to pool cocoa beans for delivery to the fair trade organization Yacao in Medina – San Cristobal. The quality of the beans and the agricultural and storage services offered by Yacao proved a good combination, and in 2006 the membership of FUNDOPO doubled to over 1500 farming families. In 2006, the two organizations inaugurated a primary school in Lechería, Medina, and began a nursery growing higher quality cocoa tree stock for grafting by members. Three years later, the organizations developed an improvement in cocoa bean fermentation with the installation of large bag processing.
All of us at La Siembra Co-operative are humbled to be able to work with these three innovative and quality-focussed co-operatives of farmers. Perhaps the only thing better than the achievements of these co-ops is the deliciousness we get from blending their wonderful ingredients into the new Camino Maple Hot Chocolate mix.