Workers fill sacks with cocoa beans in Soubre, Ivory Coast, on July 19 2018. Picture: REUTERS/THIERRY GOUEGNON
Workers fill sacks with cocoa beans in Soubre, Ivory Coast, on July 19 2018. Picture: REUTERS/THIERRY GOUEGNON

Abidjan — Mixed rains fell over Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week, farmers said on Monday, with more showers needed in some areas to boost the April-to-September mid-crop.

The rainy season in the world’s biggest cocoa producer runs from mid-March to late October, with heavy showers expected to begin in April.

Farmers said their harvests had so far been more abundant than in 2018 and that a mix of showers and sunshine would yield a healthier mid-crop than the previous season.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said the weather would allow them to harvest twice a month until at least July.

“The mid-crop is good, we have already harvested many more beans than last year,” said Julien Beda, who farms near Soubre. “Sunshine will be very important for the next stage of the mid-crop.”

Rainfall in Soubre, which includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was at 27.5mm last week, 8mm above the five-year average.

Rainfall was also above average in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, in the central region of Bongouanou, and in eastern region of Abengourou, and farmers said they expected large and high-quality beans if the weather remained constant.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of the country’s output, farmers said more downpours were needed to boost the mid-crop.

“Buyers are complaining about the small [sized] beans coming from the bush,” said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa. “The weather is getting darker and darker. If it starts raining well soon, the mid-crop will finish beautifully,” he said.

Data showed that rainfall in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was at 10.3mm last week, 11.6mm below the five-year average. Rainfall was also below average in central region of Yamoussoukro and the western region of Man.

Reuters