June 8, 2020 / 1:42 PM / 2 months ago

Ivory Coast cocoa farmers say more rains needed to boost crop

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Below average rainfall in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week meant more downpours were needed to strengthen the crop, farmers said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A farmer works on a cocoa farm in Bobia, Gagnoa, Ivory Coast, December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon/File Photo

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is currently in its rainy season, which runs from mid-March to late October.

Farmers across the country said harvesting for the April-to-September mid-crop would start to decline sharply after June.

They added abundant and regular rainfall would be needed this month to help trees yield from mid-August as there were plenty of cherelles on the trees.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, farmers said buyers were asking them to sort their beans before selling.

“Buyers are not happy. The beans are small-sized at the moment. We’ll need a lot of rain to have good quality beans starting from August,” said Paul Kpanhi, who farms near Abengourou.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Abengourou, was 17.1 millimetres (mm) last week, 37.8 mm below the five-year average.

In the western region of Soubre, and in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, where rainfall was below average last week, farmers said there would not be a supply disruption after June harvesting.

“Quantities will go down starting in July but there will still be some cocoa to sell until mid-August or early September,” said Seraphin Bagne, who farms on the outskirts of Soubre.

Data showed rainfall in Soubre was 48.7 mm last week, 5.4 mm below the average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was also below average last week, farmers said they have started to maintain plantations to boost output in the coming months.

“Farmers have started to clean plantations to boost production in the coming months because there are plenty cherelles and flowers on trees,” said Maxime Koffi who farms near Daloa.

Data showed rainfall in Daloa was 26.5 mm last week, 0.7 mm below average.

Temperatures over the past week ranged from 26.5 to 29.9 degrees Celsius.

Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and David Evans

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