June 15, 2020 / 1:08 PM / 23 days ago

Ivory Coast cocoa farmers worried by heavy rains

ABIDJAN, June 15 (Reuters) - Well-above average rainfall in some of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week raised fears of plantations flooding and poor quality beans, farmers said on Monday.

The world’s top cocoa producer is in the middle of its rainy season and farmers across the country said there were enough pods on trees for the April-to-September mid-crop harvest.

However, in the eastern and southern regions of Abengourou and Agboville, farmers said it had rained so much it was difficult to dry the beans properly.

“The sky is cloudy and it keeps raining. Some plantations are at risk of flooding,” said Faustin Anvo, who farms on the outskirts of Agboville, where 134.4 millimetres (mm) fell last week, 75.1 mm above the five-year average, according to data collected by Reuters.

Abengouroun received 114.4 mm of rain, 56.9 mm above the average.

In the western region of Soubre and southern region of Divo, farmers said abundant rains would boost the development of small and average-sized pods for harvesting from mid-August.

“It will boost the yield around the end of the mid-crop,” said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre, where rainfall was 32.5 mm above average last week at 87.4 mm. Divo received 45 mm last week, 4.4 mm above average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro farmers said plantations still needed regular and abundant rains to develop the crop.

Bertin Tiemele, who farms near Bongouanou, said farmers would start seeing the development of the main crop at the end of this month.

Rainfall in Bongouanou was 17.6 mm above average last week at 47.6 mm, while Yamoussoukro received 30.3 mm or 2.7 mm above average.

Farmers in Daloa said more downpours were needed after just 10.8 mm fell last week, 16.6 mm below the average.

Temperatures ranged between 24.9-28.7 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro, Kirsten Donovan)

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