This is one of our favorite topics because we too once believed that Fair Trade was the best way! We purchase Arriba Nacional Cacao beans processed in the country of origin (we source from Conexión Chocolate in Ecuador).
Fair Trade certification is $10k for a farmer in the regions that we source from. Many farmers are participating in agroforestry with multiple crops like sweet potatoes, bananas, coconut, palm, and other fruits and veg. Often, these are lifestyle farms where a family might produce ten to fifteen 5-gallon buckets of cacao beans per year. Oftentimes we visiting cooperatives, you will see people unloading partially fermented beans from their trunks on the way to work the same way that we will return cans here in Michigan. For that reason, it doesn't make a ton of sense for them to invest the 10k in the same way that we might wonder if we should invest 10k to keep returning cans (or in this case, sell cacao beans to the co-op).
Arriba Nacional beans do command a higher price than generic CCN-51 cacao. Arriba Nacional is the low-yielding heritage variety of bean that is grown in Ecuador and Colombia, often grafted onto the hardier trunks of CCN-51 trees (which we are cool with because it helps the trees naturally fight off pests, etc). The price of Arriba National is commanded by product quality and lies far above that of generic cacao which allows our grinders to pay co-ops, and co-ops to pay farmers far more than the market price, all without a 10k farmer buy in (so it is less exclusive and available to large and small farms alike with far less investment) and it means tastier chocolate for you, which is also great!