June 3, 2019 / 1:16 PM / 14 days ago

Ivorian cocoa farmers welcome rains amid concern over mid-crop

ABIDJAN, June 3 (Reuters) - Rains remained below average last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions but were more abundant compared to previous weeks, which could boost the April to September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, farmers said rainfall levels were good for the trees but that it was becoming difficult to dry the beans.

“The weather is cloudy. It started raining a lot and we don’t have enough sun,” Etienne Yao, who farms near Aboisso, said. “There are enough pods to harvest but it’s hard to dry the beans.”

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall in Abengourou, including the region of Aboisso, was 50 millimetres last week, 1.5 mm below the five-year average.

Farmers reported similar conditions in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, where downpours were abundant.

In the western region of Soubre, farmers said they were concerned the harvest could rot on its way out of the bush.

“There is a lot of humidity and high risk that the beans rot,” said Koffi Kouame, who farms near Soubre. “The pods that will be harvested in August and September keep growing bigger.”

Data showed that rainfall in Soubre, which includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was 58.7 mm last week, 6.9 mm above the five-year average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and the central regions of Yamoussoukro and Bongouanou, farmers were happy with moisture improvement compared with previous periods.

“If the rains keep improving, we can hope for some quality cocoa in September,” said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa.

Data showed that rainfall in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was 14.5 mm last week, 11.9 mm below the five-year average.

Average temperatures ranged between 26.2 and 29.3 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro and Dale Hudson)

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