Unexpected rains a boost for Ivory Coast’s cocoa farmers

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Well-above average rains mixed with sunny spells across most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions should improve the quality and the size of beans in February and March, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the dry season, which runs from mid-November to March, when rain is normally light and infrequent.

But farmers have welcomed a second consecutive week of good rainfall, which they expect will trigger new flowering of the April-to-September mid-crop and also boost the yield of the last stage of the October-to-March main crop.

“It’s astonishing to have this kind of rain in December,” said Sylvain Brou, who farms near the centre-western region of Daloa, where 23.8 millimetres (mm) fell last week, 20.5 mm above the five-year average.

Farmers said they expected significant volumes of main crop beans to leave the bush until late January.

In the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was well above average, farmers said they were also confident of significant output after January.

Above-average rains fell as well in the western region of Soubre, in the southern regions of Divo and Agboville and in the eastern region of Abengourou.

“We will have plenty of harvesting in the months ahead,” said Reami Bayo, who farms near Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre was 17.2 mm last week, 8.7 mm above the average.

Last week’s average daily temperatures ranged from 26.9 to 30.3 degrees Celsius.