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

Abidjan — Above-average rainfall mixed with sunshine in Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week could boost the forthcoming October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.

The April-to-September mid-crop in Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is tailing off and farmers say they are closely watching the development of the next main crop as no big pods have been seen on trees yet.

While farmers say they are happy with weather conditions, which have allowed many flowers to turn into cherelles, more moisture and sun will be needed throughout the month to boost the crop.

“It is not over yet. In the coming weeks, we will need good rains and sunshine to avoid insects and diseases on the plantations,” said Eugene Gnaka, who farms near the western region of Soubre.

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall in Soubre, which includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was 55.5mm last week, 18.9mm above the five-year average.

Farmers reported good flowering and a proliferation of cherelles on trees in the southern region of Agboville, where rainfall was 43.9mm last week, 4.6mm above average.

In the southern region of Divo, rainfall was at 50.1mm last week, 21.9mm above average, and in the central region of Yamoussoukro, rainfall was at 33.3mm last week, 10.1mm above average.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the good quality of its beans, farmers said a proliferation of cherelles could pave the way for an early harvest compared with last season.

“There are a lot more pods compared to the same time last year. The harvest of the main crop could be early if all goes well,” said Anani Koffi, who farms near Abengourou.

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall in Abengourou, which includes the region of Aboisso, was 63.8mm last week, 24.4mm above average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and the central area of Bongouanou, data collected by Reuters showed rains were below average but farmers remained optimistic.

“The soil is humid and flowers and cherelles are doing well,” said Raphael Kouame, who farms near Daloa, a region that accounts for a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output.

Data showed that rainfall in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was 18.8mm last week, 5.5mm below average.

Rainfall in Bongouanou was 23.2mm last week, 1.7mm below average.

Average temperatures ranged between 24.12ºC and 27.38ºC.