January 19, 2015 / 6:55 PM / 4 years ago

Harmattan wind dwindles in Ivory Coast cocoa regions

ABIDJAN, Jan 19 (Reuters) - The dry Harmattan wind dwindled in intensity last week in most of Ivory Coast’s main cocoa-growing regions and the main crop started to tail off in several areas, farmers said on Monday.

The dry season in Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa grower, runs from mid-November to March and the only reported rain this week was in the southern regions of Agboville and Alepe, where rainfall was light.

The season overlaps with Harmattan, which blows from December to March and has a negative impact on cocoa production. In the eastern region of Abengourou, which is known for its bean quality, farmers said the dry spell was weakening cocoa trees.

“There will likely be few pods from the end of this month and cocoa will be rare next month,” said Abou N’Draman, who farms in the outskirts of Abengourou.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers reported no rainfall.

“It’s very hot. It’s cloudy and we are expecting rain next week,” said Koffi Kouame, who farms on the outskirts of Soubre. “Harmattan hasn’t done damage here. The farmers are picking the pods. We should have enough by next month.”

In the centre-west region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s output, farmers said no rain fell during the week and that the end of the main crop season would be disappointing as a result of the dryness.

“The Harmattan’s diminishing. It’s starting to be very hot. We now need rain for the trees weakened by the dry season,” said Abel Konan, who farms near Daloa. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and David Goodman)

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