Downpours in Ivory Coast revive hopes for cocoa mid-crop

Most of Ivory Coast’s main cocoa growing regions received plenty of rain last week, farmers said on Monday, raising hopes for the April-to-September mid-crop after a prolonged period of below-average rainfall.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the midst of the rainy season, during which downpours are usually expected to be heavy and regular. But this season rain had been scarce in many parts of the country.

Farmers welcomed the shift in the weather and said they expected cocoa trees to produce a significant volume of high-quality beans.

“It rained well last week. Farmers are really happy,” said N’Zue Albert, who farms on the outskirts of the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces quarter of Ivory Coast’s output.

“If it continues to rain abundantly this week, we think trees will produce enough cocoa towards the end of the mid-crop,” said N’Zue. Daloa had not had enough rain for several weeks.

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, totaled 34.6 millimeters (mm) last week, 7 mm above the five-year average.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said the weather would prepare the way for a longer and more abundant mid-crop than last season’s.

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“The soil humidity is very good,” said Salaamed Koenig, who farms near Soubre.

“There are still a few harvests ahead because the trees have many small pods,” he added.

Data showed that the region of Soubre, including San Pedro and Cassandra, received 58.1 mm of rainfall last week, 4 mm above average.

Farmers were also upbeat in the western region of Man, where rainfall reached 58.4 mm last week – 27.3 mm above average – as well as in the central region of Yamoussoukro, which received 44.9 mm of rain – 17.3 mm above average.

Although rainfall remained low in southern region of Divo and in the south eastern region of Aboisso, farmers said the soil moisture content was sufficient to support the mid-crop.

Rainfall in Aboisso, which includes Abengoa, was 24.9 mm last week, 32.5 mm below average.

Divo received 37.8 mm of rainfall last week, 2.4 mm below average.

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