February 12, 2018 / 4:28 PM / a year ago

Ivory Coast heat and patchy rain mixed for cocoa midcrop

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Above average rainfall helped Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week, farmers said on Monday, although some expressed concern about the effects of a spell of hot weather.

FILE PHOTO: Cocoa pods are seen in a cocoa farm in Anyama, Ivory Coast, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

The dry season in the world’s top producer ends in March, but farmers said many cocoa trees were blossoming thanks to last week’s rain.

Now, more is needed to maintain moisture levels for flowers to survive and develop into small pods, the number of which determine the size of the crop.

“We had good rainfall that will limit damage, but we still need water because it’s very hot,” said Etienne Yao, who farms in the eastern region of Aboisso, which includes Abengourou.

Data collected by Reuters showed that Aboisso had 33.9 mm of rain, 28.2 mm above average.

In the southern regions of Agboville and Tiassale, farmers also said they were optimistic for the mid-crop.

“We think there will be many pods in May because we have heat and rain,” said Vincent Yavo, who farms near Agboville. “The mid-crop will be long because new flowers are blooming even though we already have small pods,” he said.

Data showed that the 15.1 mm of rain in Agboville and Tiassale was 10.1 mm above average.

But in the western region of Soubre, farmers were concerned about the heat.

“We worry the flowers will fall. We need rain this week to secure them, or else there will be losses,” said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre.

Similar growing conditions were reported in center-western region of Daloa, which accounts for a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output.

Temperatures rose above average last week, ranging from 27.9 to 31.7 degrees Celsius.

Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Sofia Christensen/Keith Weir

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