Hi ,

I am interested going to DR to get involve with cacao in Bonao ,i like to know if it would be a problem to export cacao from there and how goverment is involve in this ?

Thank you


First welcome to the forums. Second yes the government is involved in EVERYTHING that is exported or imported.

How much do you know about this country? About the "investment" or business of cacao?  The people you are getting involved with?    How much do you know about doing business here?   

It is seriously NOT easy to do business here, be very very careful.

Welcome and do listen to Planner

Getting "involved" here can be a huge headache and money pit.  Remember the best and easiest way to leave the DR with a million dollars is to arrive with at least two :D

You need to come and investigate on your own and a serious investigation.  Do NOT rely on ANYONE else be it a friend, business partner....

Bob K

Hi ,

Thank you for your response , i live in New York ,my wife is Dominican and most of her familly is based in Bonao , her grand mother own a large cacao farm and she is getting very old ,she has 7 daugther and none of them really want to take over . I wouldn't have to invest any money or very little but in order for me to be profitable i would have to export it .
I am an ice cream manufacturer and planning to move to Bonao next year but i need to know what to do there . I would have in half money to live on but need an occupation who involve nature . I am also planning to grown vanilla there . I already have connections with the ministere of agriculture to import vanilla plants .
What i am trying to find out is ,would i be able to export it ?

Yes you will.  But when, how much and at what cost I can't say.  There may be a quota system in place.  Min of agriculture is the place to start.

If the farm makes any money you will find at least 7 people lined up with their hand out.    You will be saddled with supporting the entire extended family.   Don't scoff,  it is true.

I was going to scoff at the number 7........LOL

My guess is he is a little more aware than most.

My motivation is not to get rich , but to be close to mother nature ,give more jobs to poor people in the area and also support the all familly like the grand mother has been doing for years . I like to help them get more money for they cacaco and add vanilla to the culture .

After fews trip there i couldn't find any good chocolate or real vanilla and i like to change that .they have the best land but don't get what they are entitle to . I am not planning to invest millions there but use the land to produce value .
I like to find out more about theses quota system

Any advice are welcome .thank you all

I responded to you privately  with some info.

In terms of helping the family - grandma is one of them and expectations will be X.  you are a gringo and expectations will be X + a bunch!

Some of the best chocolate I have had was produced in the DR but was for export only.  Pretty funny we bought a bunch in Brussels and brought it back for gifts.

Bob K

Have you been here before?

I am in Bonao and know a lot about the Cacao business here. You can message me privately if you want.

In the hills above Rio San Juan is a large plantation owned & operated by a friend of mine.   His name is Michael Spencer. He is from St Croix.  He started his finca about 20 + years ago. He grows & roasts coffee that he sells around the world to private clients as well as a few retail outlets.   Brand name is "Café Selecto".   A dark roasted excellent coffee.  He also raises cacao, plantains, yucca, bananas, oranges.  He is quite a character & can be found in some of the bars in town.   A retired lawyer who did very well with a suite against Hess Oil on STX,   He's very smart & outgoing.  He would be a good source for all aspects of your type of business.  I'll get his e-mail & PM it to you if he agrees.   A true raconteur of the old style.   Good luck in your venture & be careful how you deal with the take over.   No sense in creating something only to lose it & watch it die an angonizing death.   (everyone else knows my spelling sucks)

Thanks i truly apreciate your advices , i would definitely take ma precaution on every aspect and move slowly , you can send me a private message with infos of your friend it seems to be worth to know more about him there us nothing like experiences  .

I like also to thanks every one on this forum for being helpfull .

You are very welcome!

The only way to more here is SLOWLY. The locals don't know any other way. Unless they are NY Dominicans :) In that case, it is possible to move slightly faster.

I was pleased to come across this thread from a few years back and wonder how 'benhotel'is getting on? And 'dreamtimes' advice is of interest.

My reasoning being, that with my Dominican wife we have just purchased several acres of good agricultural land in the north west corner of Monte Plata province on the boundary with Sanchez Ramirez and have more options for land at incredibly good prices with title ($0.3/m2). It is alongside the village of my wife's grandmother's family and was a logical long term move to have a place there whilst we continue our life in the capital. Those that know the general area will know it is an incredibly beautiful part of DR with tropical rolling lush green forests. With my building background I will be planning a modest building on that property.

So we have been thinking of how to put the land to use to generate a small supplementary income in years to come.

This is in pineapple country being close to Cevicos, but that is not a route we plan to take  based upon a nephews experiences. Cacao trees are common in the area and when I was given a ripe pod this past week, my mind started ticking and I began reading up on Cacao and the DR. By all accounts some of the best beans come from DR, so I am keen to investigate more.

The MOA will be a starting point for sure but I would welcome any updates from the above mentioned posters or anyone else. They are not so far away as the crow flies from our area.

I have a couple of friends who are into growing things.   One has very large holdings in the Catalina area. Oranges, bananas, plantains, coco nuts, coffee, Moringa, cacao & right now has 7,000 pineapple plants.  (Seven thousand).  The other friend has a much smaller operation in El Choco. Very successful vegetables etc.  They are not near you, but may have some useful ideas. PM me for contacts. I will check with them first of course.  Good luck with your venture.

There has been an issue with some kind of blight.  Have you connected with the Association for Agriculture yet?  Good starting point for info! Its called JAD.

Good to know, should be of value to all, thanks.

Cacao is grown all over the DR. In the area I used to be in its the cash crop. If you want to sell to the big cacao aggregators(s) in Santiago you can grow any variety.  Its all based on weight.

If you want to really get into it then you can look into growing specific types that might have a higher yield or price per lb. But good luck trying to get that info out of a local. They only know what they grow, what they can buy and if your lucky you can find someone who knows something regarding special types of cacao plants for maximum yield within a short period of time.

Lets see some photos of your area.

Thanks for responding.

The area where we have the land (and have more on offer) is ideal for cacao, as long is these drought conditions don't become more regular in DR like this year.

In fact we have discovered that Monte Plata is one of the largest if not the largest producer of cacao and the location we have is on the so called Ruta de Cacao in the province. Even better a number of the extended family have small cacao plantations which are to be seen everywhere. There are also nurseries in  Monte Plata and Yamasa germinating new trees and and nearby facilities to sell the cacao beans.

But we have decided to build a small building on the land we currently have and plant a variety of fruit trees and have a small vegetable plot and leave the rest to a few animals.

Thoughts about a more commercial operation are on the back burner, but we will be planting a number of cacao trees around the property, and I do think they look nice, and we can do what the locals do and dry their beans and keep them (they store well) and grind them for cacao powder as needed.

It is an interesting proposition. I am from Canada and live in Moca. I have been to Bonao several times as my wife sees the hearing doctors/clinic at the hospital there. I have a Diploma in Agriculture where I focused mainly on Agri business but I have used this in areas like Bosnia helping  farmers while there with NATO forces. I would certainly be willing to assist in such a venture if at all possible .My aim is to assist and help as many locals as possible. For the most part, they are honest hard working folks but lacking in the knowledge on some issues we take for granted. Your wife's grandmother has an established operation and if you can flesh things out with your contacts, you might be able to succeed. But there are many potential obstacles as you have heard. I wish you the best of luck,Remember, nothing happens quickly here......

Yamasa, Peralvillo and Don Juan is cacao country with plantations everywhere and the Yamasa Ruta de Cacao, a large cacao agent as you come into Yamasa from Don Juan and a  Dominican Agrarian Institute cacao nursery.

I see there is a tourism tour available for those interested in cacao and chocolate from Santo Domingo visiting the Yamasa area about an hour north of the city: … ll_day.htm

Here is a report of another company's tour which also takes in the clay workshop where Taina replica pottery replicas are produced which according to Rough Guide to Dominican Republic are so authentic that most archeologists can tell the difference. … clay-tour/

This is a lovely tropically forested part of DR.

Eco tourism at it's best.

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