CADO - Sugar Cane Farmers' Cooperative

CADO (Consorcio Agroartesanal Dulce Orgánico, or consortium of organic sweet agri-handcrafts, literally translated) is a responsible community enterprise formed by small-scale sugar cane farmers who produce organic, fair trade alcohol in the western foothills of the Ecuadorian Andes.  Products include medicinal grade ethanol and potable alcohol.

A handful of big businesses dominate the Ecuadorian sugar market, leaving most families to  produce a potent/low-value form of alcoholic drink known as aguardiente with their sugar cane. The families need to work all week to make a small tankful that sells for as little as $40.  In this area of extreme poverty, there are few other options.

With the assistance of the non-profit organization CRACYP, the co-op has developed new processes for alcohol purification. The once crude 65% aguardiente can now be further distilled to a 70% medicinal grade or even a 96.3% potable grade.

Sugar cane farmer: Jugo Proano makes panela (unrefined sugar) by boiling down sugar cane juice in a copper kettle.  As a member of CADO, Jugo was able to grow his sugar cane organically and sustainably; increasing his overall profit from the product sale.