Ivory Coast rains to help cocoa mid-crop, farmers say

A farmer prepares to collect a cocoa pod at a cocoa farm in Alepe, Ivory Coast December 7, 2020. REUTERS/Luc Gnago//File Photo

ABIDJAN, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Below-average rains across most of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions last week were sufficient to enable plenty of pods to be harvested in the first stage of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in its dry season which runs officially from mid-November to March when rains are poor and scarce. Farmers need heavy rainfall mixed with spells of sunshine for crop growth.

Farmers said that the rainfall so far and the level of dew cover in the mornings would help crops develop well and ensure a significant harvest from April to June.

In the western region of Soubre, in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, and in the eastern region of Abengourou, most of farmers said cocoa trees looked good compared with last season. Farmers added soil moisture would help beans inside pods to develop well.

"If we have a good rain in the next two weeks the mid-crop harvest will be better than last season," said Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre, where 2.9 millimetres of rain fell last week, 4.9mm below the five-year average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were below average last week, farmers said the main crop was almost over with few beans leaving the bush.

They added that more small and average pods were currently on trees compared with the same period last season.

"This year, the mid-crop looks good. But we need a good rain before the end of this month," said Albert N'Zue, who farms near Daloa, where 4.3mm fell last week, 2.3mm above the average.

Average temperatures in Ivory Coast ranged from 28.2 to 31.3 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.

Published on Feb 13, 2023 Updated on Feb 13, [email protected];23