June 22, 2020 / 1:26 PM / 2 months ago

Rains in Ivory Coast cocoa regions above average, more sun needed

ABIDJAN, June 22 (Reuters) - Rainfall in Ivory Coast’s main cocoa-growing regions was mostly above average last week but more sunshine is needed to boost the growth of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

The world’s top cocoa producer is in the middle of its rainy season. Last week, farmers said they feared flooding in their plantations after heavy downpours in some key regions.

Across the country, farmers said they were happy that the rain had brought the necessary moisture to the soil, and now hoped for more sunshine to boost the size of the crop.

“The level of rainfall is good. We need a lot of sunshine to enable the development of flowers and tiny pods that are on the trees,” said Sebastien Yao, who farms near the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the quality of its beans.

Data collected by Reuters showed 93 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in the area last week, 37 mm above the five-year average.

In the western region of Soubre, in the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said the soil moisture content was helping trees, but dusty roads were deteriorating due to the rains, making it difficult to transport beans from the farms.

It is difficult get the beans out and dry them. If there’s not enough sunshine, they will get damp and rot,” said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre was 31.3 mm last week, 21 mm below the average.

In the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, the centre-western region of Daloa, and in the southern region of Agboville, where rains were above average, farmers said the outlook remained good.

Farmers were also upbeat for the mid-crop in the southerly region of Divo, although rainfall was below average last week. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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