November 19, 2018 / 1:59 PM / 23 days ago

REFILE-Ivory Coast light rains boost main cocoa crop

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ABIDJAN, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Light rains mixed with sunny spells in most of Ivory Coast last week were expected to boost the main cocoa crop in the world’s top producer, farmers said on Monday.

Farmers said the outlook for the main crop was good.

Ivory Coast is in the dry season that runs from November to late February, and farmers said rains through December would be crucial to ensure the harvest of big sized beans in February and March even with the current high level of soil moisture.

Generally, small-sized beans get rejected by buyers and exporters.

“The foliage is green and looks good. If the rains are well distributed through December we won’t have a lot of rejections for our February and March sales,” said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre. “The harvest is going up,” he added.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre, including the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was 15.8 millimetres (mm) last week, 1.8 mm below the five-year average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, farmers said downpours would strengthen trees.

“There are still a lot of little pods on the trees. Rains will help the trees not to weaken during the dry season,” Raphael Kouame, who farms near Daloa, said.

Rainfall in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was 7.7 mm, 0.1 mm below the five-year average.

Farmers remained optimistic in other regions.

Rainfall in the southern region of Divo was 16.1 mm, 0.8 mm above the five-year average. Rainfall in eastern of Abengourou was 31.6 mm, 14.4 mm above the five-year average.

Rainfall in southern region of Agboville was 25.5 mm, 7 mm above the five-year average. Rainfall in the central regions of Bongouanou was at 5.5 mm, 2.7 mm below average.

Rainfall in the central region of Yamoussoukro was at 14 mm, 6.3 mm above average. In the western Man region, rainfall was 6.8 mm, 1.1 mm below average.

Average temperatures in the cocoa-growing regions ranged from 26.7 to 28.6 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and David Evans)

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