IVORY COAST - Abundant rainfall in Ivory Coast’s main cocoa growing regions will improve growing conditions for the April-September mid crop, farmers said on Monday.
The dry season in the world’s top producer of cocoa runs from mid-November to March but intermittent showers are needed to help develop the mid crop after a long drought.
In the eastern region of Abengourou, which is known for the good quality of its beans, farmers reported about three heavy rains in the last week that should help trees replace dead leaves and trigger the new flowers that turn into pods.
“These are the first good rains in around three months. They will restart the production process,” said N’Dri Kouao, who farms in Niable, near the border with Ghana.
“The light crop will be weak compared to last season and we are expecting low quality because there are lots of small pods.”
In the southern region of Divo, farmers also reported one abundant downpour, adequate for the development of the mid-crop.
“With the rains, we expect that the pods will really start to come out in June because the dry season was very strong,” Amadou Diallo, who farms on the outskirts of Divo town, said.
Good rainfall should improve growing conditions in the southern regions of Aboisso, Agboville and Tiassale and in the western region of Gagnoa, all of which have suffered drought.
Farmers in the centre-west region Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s output, reported a second consecutive week of strong rains. Plantations there have suffered due to a prolonged lack of rainfall.
“For us the mid-crop is lost. We don’t have enough pods to sell because the drought has done lots of damage,” said Gervais Kobena, who farms near Daloa.
In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers reported some rains in the last week.