ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Sunny spells and scarce rainfall in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions last week could stem the spread of black pod disease and boost the main cocoa crop, farmers said on Monday.
Last week, farmers said they were concerned that wet spells could help spread disease. But a new wave of small pods was on trees and would ensure a healthy harvest into early next year if the good weather continues, farmers said.
Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the dry season which runs from November to late February.
“There was a little rain but a lot of sun. It will bring down the black pod disease,” Samuel Kacou, who farms near the eastern city of Abengourou, said.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Abengourou was 21.8 millimeters (mm), 0.1 mm below the five-year average.
Similar conditions were reported in the southern region of Agboville where farmers said the warm weather was limiting the impact of the disease and would boost the yield.
Rainfall in Agboville was 25.8 mm, 3.7 mm above the five-year average.
In the western region of Soubre farmers said supply from the bush would pick up sharply next week.
“We need more workers because the harvest will be more abundant starting next week until December,” said Koffi Koaume, who farms near Soubre.
Rainfall in Soubre, including Sassandra and San Pedro, was 16.7 mm last week, 2.2 mm below the five-year average.
In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of the national output, rainfall was 14.1 mm last week, 2.3 mm above the five-year average.
Farmers remained optimistic in other regions.
Rainfall in the southern region of Divo and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro were all below average.
In the western Man region, rainfall was 29.8 mm, 17.7 mm above average.
Average temperatures in the cocoa-growing regions ranged from 25.95 to 28.35 degrees Celsius.
Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and Louise Heavens