Hello Tom, I´ve just noticed you post about direct trade (DT). We are a cacao farm in Costa Rica and we have been direct trading with several bean to bar chocolate makers in the USA and Europe for some years now. For us, DT is not only about getting better prices, but also about building strong relationships, trust and certainly a way to improve our practices for better quality. We receive our clients at the farm and we enjoy their involvement and accept their comments, as friends do. As we want to be chocolate makers as well, we also receive important advice.
We were certified as an organic farm for six years, and during that time we were NEVER asked by the certification body about fair salaries, child labor force or about any other human rights. And those are the real questions to be placed to a cacao farm.