November 26, 2018 / 3:07 PM / 18 days ago

CORRECTED-Rain boosts Ivory Coast's cocoa crop

(Corrects paragraph 4 to clarify that harvest peaks next month)

ABIDJAN, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Above average rainfall in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions last week is set to boost the October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the midst of the dry season, which runs from November to late February.

But farmers said the mix of rain and sunshine through November would ensure good quality harvests until January.

Harvesting for the main crop is expected to peak next month, said the farmers.

“It is very hot. The beans have dried well and are of good quality,” said Severin Kouakou, who farms near the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the quality of its beans.

“Sales are going well and the cocoa is abundant,” said Kouakou.

Data collected by Reuters showed there was 22 millimetres (mm) of rainfall last week in Abengourou, which includes the region of Aboisso, 7.1 mm above the five-year average.

In the southern region of Agboville, farmers said they were hoping for more rain in December to further help the main crop.

“The trees are still carrying many big pods. We pray for well distributed rains in December in order to have many beans in February and March,” said Anseleme Kouassi, who farms near Agboville.

Data showed there was 26.8 mm of rainfall in Agboville last week, 10.4 mm above the five-year average.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said the soil moisture content was high enough to support trees until late January.

“The rains have been better than last year. We will have enough to harvest after January,” said Salame Kone, who farms in the outskirts of Soubre.

Rainfall in the region of Soubre, including Sassandra and San Pedro, totalled 14.2 mm last week, 2.5 mm below average.

The region of Daloa, including Bouafle, saw 9.1 mm of rain last week, 2.5 mm above average. The southern region of Divo saw 20.9 mm of rain last week, 7.2 mm above average.

Rainfall in the central region of Bongouanou reached 26.7 mm, 20 mm above average, and 19 mm in the region of Yamoussoukro, 12.7 mm above average.

In the western Man region, rainfall totalled 3.6 mm, 3 mm below average.

Average temperatures in the cocoa-growing regions ranged from 26.47 to 29.15 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Sofia Christensen and MarkPotter)

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