Weather conditions last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions were encouraging for the growth of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.
Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in its November to March dry season, when downpours are scarce.
Farmers said the trees had abundant flowers, many of which were turning into small pods, signalling a healthy mid-crop.
Harvesting for the main crop was tailing off but there were enough large, ripening pods to ensure significant supply leaving the bush in February and March, they said.
In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said abundant rainfall last week would help the mid-crop start well.
“The rain has been good. We are on track to have lots of good quality beans for the mid-crop,” said Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre, where 14.2 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 11.2 mm above the five-year average.
Rainfall was light in the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the good quality of its beans, and there was no rain last week in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo. Farmers there said growing conditions remained good as soil moisture content was high from rain the previous week.
No rain fell in the centre-western region of Daloa or in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, but farmers said plenty of cherelles, or young pods, were appearing on trees as the seasonal Harmattan wind was mild and the soil moisture adequate.
“Everything is going well for the moment. But if it rains before the end of this month, the conditions will improve a lot,” said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa.
The dry Harmattan wind sweeps down from the Sahara for a variable period between December and March, causing a sharp drop in humidity.
Temperatures in Ivory Coast last week ranged from 28 to 30.2 degrees Celsius on average.