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CADO Sugar Cane Farmers' Cooperative
Sugar cane has traditionally been farmed in the steep hills of Bolivar and Cotopaxi provinces in Ecuador.  A handful of big businesses dominate the sugar market, so most families use their sugar cane to produce a potent form of alcoholic drink known as aguardiente.  It's a low-value product.  The families need to work all week to make a small tankful that sells for as little as $40 up to $70 in the fluctuating local market.  In this area of extreme poverty, there are few other options.
Since 2000, CRACYP has provided training and appropriate technology to make the process more efficient, supported organic farming and better environmental practices, and helped 36 communities organise themselves into a cooperative, CADO (formed in 2003).  CRACYP helped with technology for purification and now the cooperative can purify the crude, 65aguardiente up to 70o for medicinal use as an antiseptic or even 96.3for use as potable alcohol for making liqueurs. 
CADO pays its members a fair price for their organic alcohol and a 'social premium' which goes into community projects.  They also receive a share of the profits.  Some of the younger members are receiving training in marketing and quality control and we hope to provide salaried employment in the future.  More communities are in the process of joining CADO, so over 250 families now have the chance to fight poverty without losing their traditional way of life or destroying the environment.  See CADO's organic, fair trade alcohol website to learn more.
Organic farming is helping to conserve the local eco-system.  CADO now has organic certification (BCS Öko-Garantie) and fair trade certification (IMO Fair for Life).  We provide organic alcohol to The Body Shop for perfumes and other products and you can read their report about sourcing organic alcohol from CADO.  We also sell to Dr. Bronner's in the United States - see their representative's report of his fair trade sourcing visit.
CADO is happy to hear from potential buyers for organic alcohol on a fair trade basis.  More markets for organic, community-produced alcohol would mean we could help even more families to protect the environment; to receive a fair price for their hard work; and to ensure that their children don't have to work after school.  Contact CADO("at")progresoverde.org to buy fairly-traded organic alcohol.
As with all CRACYP's sustainable development projects, there is an element of reforestation: we "retain" from the communities a small percentage of their extra income and return it to them in the form of tree seedlings for planting in the local area.  
You can see - and taste  - how CADO turns the sugar cane into aguardiente and visit the distilleries on a guided tour with our nearby Farmstay EcoTourism Project.  Volunteers and interns in sustainable development may be able to help with technology transfer or environmental projects in CADO's communities.  See how to make alcohol from sugar cane and find out why organic farming is good for frogs
Donations to the appropriate technology loan fund are a sustainable way to help these farmers work more safely and efficiently to improve their standard of living.


CADO - Processing sugar cane into organic alcohol with appropriate technology,
adding value to the local economy and encouraging organic production.
A Green Progress organic farming project from CRACYP.



Organic sugarcane, growing up to 5 metres highUnloading cut sugarcane from a donkeyThe cane stalks are crushed in a donkey-driven mill
Copper still and piping
Distillation tower in tiny village in mountain scenery
Sugarcane farmers in a training session