July 8, 2019 / 1:58 PM / 11 days ago

Abundant rains offer good prospects for main Ivory Coast cocoa crop: farmers

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Above-average rainfall mixed with sunshine in Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week could boost the forthcoming October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.

The April-to-September mid-crop in Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is tailing off and farmers said they were closely watching the development of the next main crop as no big pods were seen on trees yet.

While farmers said they were happy with weather conditions - which have allowed many flowers to turn into cherelles - more moisture and sun will be needed throughout the month to boost the crop.

“It is not over yet. In the coming weeks, we will need good rains and sunshine to avoid insects and diseases on the plantations,” said Eugene Gnaka, who farms near the western region of Soubre.

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall in Soubre, which includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was 55.5 millimetres (mm) last week, 18.9 mm above the five-year average.

Farmers reported good flowering and a proliferation of cherelles on trees in the southern region of Agboville where rainfall was 43.9 mm last week, 4.6 mm above average.

In the southern region of Divo, rainfall was at 50.1 mm last week, 21.9 mm above average, and in the central region of Yamoussoukro, rainfall was at 33.3 mm last week, 10.1 mm above average.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the good quality of its beans, farmers said a proliferation of cherelles could pave the way for an early harvest compared with last season.

“There are a lot more pods compared to the same time last year. The harvest of the main crop could be early if all goes well,” said Anani Koffi, who farms near Abengourou.

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall in Abengourou, which includes the region of Aboisso, was 63.8 mm last week, 24.4 mm above average.

In the center-western region of Daloa and the central area of Bongouanou, data collected by Reuters showed rains were below average but farmers remained optimistic.

“The soil is humid and flowers and cherelles are doing well,” said Raphael Kouame, who farms near Daloa, a region that accounts for a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output.

Data showed that rainfall in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was 18.8 mm last week, 5.5 mm below average.

Rainfall in Bongouanou was 23.2 mm last week, 1.7 mm below average.

Average temperatures ranged between 24.12 and 27.38 degrees Celsius.

Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly, editing by Anna Pujol-Mazzini and Kirsten Donovan

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