March 23, 2020 / 12:09 PM / 11 days ago

Ivory Coast weather boosts cocoa mid-crop - farmers

ABIDJAN, March 23 (Reuters) - Rains in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions were below average last week but improved soil moisture after was helping the mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is still in the dry season which runs from November to March, and will soon enter the rainy season that begins in April.

Farmers in villages said they were happy with the plantations’ state, as foliage was green and new flowers and pods were showing on trees. They added abundant rains will be needed to ensure the good quality of the July-to-September mid-crop.

“The weather is not that bad. If there is rain, two months from now we’ll be able to harvest,” said Julien Adou, who farms near the central region of Bongouanou, where 15.3 millimetres (mm) fell last week, 1.3 below the five-year average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central region of Yamoussoukro, farmers made similar comments, adding that they were hopeful it will rain soon.

Daloa received 13.9 mm last week, 2.8 mm below average while Yamoussoukro received 11.4 mm, 4.3 mm below average.

In the western region of Soubre, farmers said there was harvesting taking place and that adequate rainfall from April would clear the way for healthy harvests in the region, as there were plenty of different-sized fruits on trees.

“If the rains are abundant starting in April like it usually is, a lot of pods will ripen well and the harvests will be good,” said Bernard Koko, who farms near Soubre, where 5.8 mm fell last week, 8.9 mm below the average.

In the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rains were below average, farmers said plantations were looking well and supplies of beans would be available in April at the start of the mid-crop’s marketing season.

Temperatures over the past week ranged from 28.4 to 32.5 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Edited by Juliette Jabkhiro and Ed Osmond)

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