Ivory Coast cocoa farmers welcome heavy rain in central regions
ABIDJAN, March 20 (Reuters) - Unusually heavy rain last week in Ivory Coast's central cocoa-growing regions will improve bean quality for the April-to-September mid-crop, while more rain is needed elsewhere, farmers said on Monday.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is heading into its rainy season from April to mid-November.
Farmers across the country said the mid-crop harvest had started timidly and would pick up by mid-April.
The weather next month will be crucial in determining the size and quality of the crop, farmers said.
In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was well above average last week, farmers said the extra moisture would be good for growth.
"The trees are full of small and medium-sized pods. If the rain is regular from April, we will have lots to harvest during the mid-crop," said Robert Adou, who farms near Yamoussoukro, where 52.7 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 35.9 mm above the five-year average. `
Rainfall was below average in the western region of Soubre, the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and the eastern region of Abengourou.
"The harvest has started. We need more rain for the beans to grow big in the coming weeks," said Andre Yavo, who farms near Agboville, where 13.7 mm of rain fell last week, 2.9 mm below the average.
Average temperatures ranged from 27.8 to 32.6 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.
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