Rains swell Ivory Coast cocoa crop

TO GO W/ AFP STORY IN FRENCH BY David YOUANT Workers cut cocoa in the southwestern Ivorian village of Godilehiri 01 November 2007 near Divo where cocoa and coffee plantation farmers are upset with suspected misappropriation of cocoa revenue or money laundering. Ivory Coast is the world's leading producer of cocoa, which along with coffee accounts for 40 percent of the country's exports and about 20 percent of gross domestic product. A June report by Global Witness charged that cocoa helped finance low-level armed conflict that has left Ivory Coast divided in two for five years between a government-held south and a rebel north since a foiled coup bid in 2002. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

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.


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