A farmer carries cocoa pods at a farm in Agboville, Ivory Coast. Picture: REUTERS
A farmer carries cocoa pods at a farm in Agboville, Ivory Coast. Picture: REUTERS

Abidjan — Above-average rain in most of the Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week continued to boost the October to March crop, farmers said on Monday, despite fear of the humidity affecting bean drying.

Farmers said they expect a big crop this season. Harvesting, which began slowly in some areas, will pick up gradually in October and November.

In the western region of Man, including the town of Duekoue, farmers said rain is making it hard to dry beans properly.

"The rain is tiring us a bit. We worry the beans will not dry enough and become mouldy if there is not enough sunshine," said farmer Daouda Fofana.

Reuters data showed that Man had 79.6mm of rain last week, 42.1mm above the five-year average.

We had good rains this month. If this continues in October, and if the sun shines, the crop yield will be very high.
Kouassi Kouame

In the western region of Soubre, the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said trees are laden with good-sized pods to be harvested by the end of this year.

"We had good rains this month. If this continues in October, and if the sun shines, the crop yield will be very high," said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre.

Soubre, which includes the towns of Sassandra and San Pedro, had 32.6mm of rain last week, 14.5mm above average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of national output, farmers said they expect a bigger main crop than last season’s.

"It rained well this month, and we had sunshine, so we think we will have more cocoa than last season," said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa.

Daloa had 50.1mm of rain last week, 19.5mm above average.

Rainfall was below average in the southern region of Agboville. But farmers welcomed this as they had feared black-pod disease.

"The brown-rot situation has improved because rainfall has decreased and there is more sunshine," said Alfred Bile, who farms near Agboville.

Agboville had 10.4mm of rain last week, which was 5.9m less than the five-year average. Rainfall was also lower in the central region of Yamoussoukro last week at 21.1mm, which was 2.8mm below average.

Reuters