Rain relieves Ivory Coast cocoa mid-crop after dry spell, farmers say

A farmer prepares to collect a cocoa pod at a cocoa farm in Alepe, Ivory Coast
A farmer prepares to collect a cocoa pod at a cocoa farm in Alepe, Ivory Coast December 7, 2020. REUTERS/Luc Gnago//File Photo

ABIDJAN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Above-average rain in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa regions last week will boost the April-to-September mid-crop after weeks of dry weather, farmers said on Monday.

The world's top cocoa producer is in its dry season, which runs officially from mid-November to March. Rains are poor and scarce during this time.

Farmers rejoiced on Monday after showers in parts of the country moistened parched crops. Many said the rain would improve soil moisture content, help small pods and cherelles develop further and see crops through February, which is usually dry.

"All the farmers are happy here. Crops have been watered well," said Alfred Kobenan, who farms near the eastern region of Abengourou, where 18.9mm (0.7 inch) of rain fell last week, 14.9 mm (0.6 inch) above the five-year average.

Rains were also above average in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, and in the centre-western region of Daloa.

"Trees will be reinvigorated with these rains and produce more (cocoa)," said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa, where 4.2mm (0.17 inch)of rain fell last week, 1.9mm (0.07 inch) above average.

But rain was still below average in the western region of Soubre, and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro.

Farmers there said a good shower before mid-February would boost yields, prevent leaves from drying out and improve the quality of April harvests.

Average temperatures ranged between 27.7 and 30.7 degrees Celsius (82 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit) in Ivory Coast last week.

Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Sofia Christensen and Jonathan Oatis

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