February 25, 2019 / 1:54 PM / a month ago

Ivory Coast cocoa farmers expect rains to boost mid-crop

ABIDJAN, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Above average rains last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions were expected to boost the development of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the dry season which runs from November to late February, when scarce downpours are crucial for cocoa crops to withstand the heat.

Farmers said that after a dry spell, they were happy with the rhythm of the rainfall, as it would boost the production of big-sized quality cocoa beans. They added plenty of small and average pods were already developing on trees.

“We had a good shower. It happened just in time to strengthen the trees,” said Francois Daly, who farms near the southern region of Divo.

“If we have the same kind of rains in the coming days, the mid-crop will be off to a good start in April,” he added.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Divo was at 20.5 millimetres (mm) last week, 8.7 mm above the five-year average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, farmers said the mid-crop would be plentiful, starting in May.

“We will have a good harvest in April but starting in May, the number of beans coming from the bush will go up,” said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Daloa.

Rainfall in the region of Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was at 15 mm last week, 3.9 mm above the five-year average.

In the western region of Soubre, farmers said they were happy as the moisture would help plenty of cherelles to survive in the heat.

“If we have good rains in March, the harvest will be plentiful until at least July,” said Marcel Bagnan, who farms near Soubre.

Rainfall in Soubre, which includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was at 13.6 mm last week, 5.3 mm above the five-year average.

Rainfall was above the five-year average in central regions of Yamoussoukro and Bongouanou, in southern region of Agboville, in eastern region of Abengourou and in western region of Man.

Farmers there said they expected a good outlook if the weather was good next month.

Average temperatures ranged between 27.3 and 31.4 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and Ed Osmond)

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