Fair Trade Alcohol Can Change Lives for the Better!

This surprising claim comes from a community enterprise in an area of extreme poverty in rural Ecuador.  Farming families here have been making alcohol from their sugar cane for generations, but the power of the intermediaries meant they had to sell it for a pittance.  Now that is set to change.  CADO (which stands for Sweet Organic Agro-craft Consortium, in Spanish) was formed in 2003 after several years of preparatory work organizing five communities into formal associations.  Currently nine communities and 162 families are involved.

Now, CADO has internationally-recognised organic certification from German certifier BCS Öko-Garantie for 103 of their farms.  They believe they have the world´s only organic, community-produced alcohol made by a socially-responsible organization.  If these farmers can find responsible markets for their alcohol so that they receive a fair price for their work, their lives really will change for the better.  Their children will no longer have to work long hours on the farm and they will be able to invest in more effective, environmentally-responsible technology to become more productive.

CADO´s organic alcohol prices include a social premium for community projects and an environmental premium to be used for planting trees in the area, so the whole community will benefit.

The members of CADO point out that their alcohol is not only for drinking.  Although they offer high quality organic potable alcohol perfect for making organic liqueurs, they can also provide DEB96 (denaturalized alcohol) for use in perfumes and organic ethanol for use in industrial processes such as the extraction of plant essences.

Obviously CADO does not recommend excessive alcohol consumption.  But a shot of organic alcohol produced by a socially-responsible enterprise could be good for the soul, and also for the future of over 100 farming families.  Cheers!

For more information please visit www.progresoverde.org

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