Ivorian cocoa farmers hope for more rain to boost mid-crop

Environment

ABIDJAN (Reuters) – More downpours are needed to strengthen Ivory Coast’s April-to-September cocoa mid-crop despite above-average rains in most growing regions last week, farmers said.

FILE PHOTO: A farmer is seen at his cocoa plantation in Toumodi, Ivory Coast October 13, 2018. REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon/File Photo

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the dry season, which runs from November to late February. Scarce showers during this period are crucial to the development of the mid-crop.

Farmers in the bush said hot weather was responsible for a tightness in supply as the main crop (October-March) was tailing off, but that the outlook for the mid-crop was better than it had been last season at the same period.

Farmers said plenty of cherelles and pods of different sizes had survived and a good shower would help the crop to be long and large.

“The pods are growing well but will need more and more rain, as soils are starting to dry a little,” Roger Zamble, who farms in the western region of Soubre, said.

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall in Soubre, including the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was at 8 millimeters (mm) last week, 2.4 mm above average.

In the center-western region of Daloa, farmers said they were happy with the rhythm of downpours. “Rainfall levels are OK. But it has to keep going or plants will suffer from the heat,” N’Zue Albert, who farms near Daloa, said.

Rainfall in Daloa, which includes the region of Bouafle, was at 17 mm last week, 10.7 mm above the five-year average.

Farmers reported similar tales in the southern region of Divo, in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, and in the western region of Man, where rains were above average.

In the southern region of Agboville and the eastern region of Abengourou, rains were below average but farmers said there was no damage at the moment.

Average temperatures ranged from 27.4 to 31.4 degrees Celsius.

Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and Dale Hudson

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