February 24, 2020 / 2:42 PM / 2 months ago

Ivory Coast weather offers mixed prospect for cocoa mid-crop - farmers

ABIDJAN, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Below-average rains in some of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week could delay the April to September mid-crop, while there was good rainfall elsewhere, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in its dry season, which runs from November to March.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were below average, farmers said the hot and dry weather was weakening the trees as leaves were turning yellow.

Farmers added they didn’t expect significant harvesting in April and May, but that heavy rainfall well distributed in March could still help collect enough beans in the bush in June and July.

“We will not yield a healthy mid-crop in April and May,” said Claude Kouadio, who farms near Daloa.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 3.6 millimetres (mm) last week, 7.2 mm below the five-year average.

However in the western region of Soubre, farmers said the development of the mid-crop was satisfying and that good downpours in March would boost it.

“There are enough pods on the trees,” said Koffi Kouame, who farms near Soubre. “We can hope for a good mid-crop harvest if the rains are more abundant in March.” Data showed rainfall in Soubre was 10.2 mm last week, 2.1 mm above the average. Farmers remained optimistic in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rainfall was 10.5 mm last week, 0.7 mm above average.

They were also upbeat in the southern regions of Divo, which received 8.5 mm, 3 mm below average, and Agboville, where 4.6 mm fell last week, 5.2 mm below average, given hopes that rain would pick up in March. Temperatures over the past week ranged from 28.3 to 32.4 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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