March 12, 2018 / 3:19 PM / 5 months ago

Improving rainfall bolsters Ivory Coast cocoa mid-crop

ABIDJAN, March 12 (Reuters) - Abundant rainfall in many of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week will boost the size and quality of upcoming mid-crop harvest, farmers said on Monday.

The world’s top cocoa producer is emerging from a three-month dry season and entering the rainy season, which begins in March with regular downpours.

Farmers said trees were loaded with small and medium-sized pods, and that regular rainfall in the coming weeks would be crucial for the April-to-September mid-crop.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output, farmers said the weather would allow the mid-crop to develop well over the next two months.

“We were spoilt last week. We had three abundant rains that will help cherelles and small pods grow,” said M’Bra Konan, who farms in the centre-western region of Bouafle.

“There are new leaves coming out of many trees,” said Raphael Kouame, who farms near Daloa.

Data collected by Reuters showed that Daloa, which includes the region of Bouafle, received 37.6 mm of rainfall last week, 22.6 mm above average.

In the southeastern region of Abengourou, farmers said they expected rainfall to yield higher-quality beans from June onwards.

“Beans coming out now are very small, but this could change if we maintain good moisture levels until the end of April,” said Lambert Aka, who farms in the eastern region of Abengourou.

Data showed that Aboisso, which includes the region of Abengourou, received 42.9 mm of rainfall last week, 27.3 mm above average.

In the western region of Soubre, in the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said harvesting for the mid-crop would slowly begin in late March.

“There will be a few harvests towards the end of this month,” said Lazare Ake, who farms near Soubre, adding that farmers expected the mid-crop to be as abundant as last year.

Data showed that rainfall levels in Soubre, which includes the region of Sassandra and San Pedro, reached 10.5 mm last week, 1.7 mm below average.

Similar growing conditions were reported in western regions of Man and Duekoue, and in southern regions of Divo and Agboville. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly Editing by Sofia Christensen and Dasha Afanasieva)

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