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Patchy Rains Aid Cocoa Farmers

Patchy rains in Ivory Coast’s main cocoa regions aided the harvesting of beans last week while growing conditions improved in the key centre-western region of Daloa and the coastal region of San Pedro, farmers said on Monday.

The world’s largest cocoa producer is in the midst of its smaller April-to-September mid-crop and production is running ahead of even last season’s record crop.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s output, farmers reported one abundant rainfall but said more was needed.

“We need more rain because the plantations suffered in the dry season,” said farmer Antoine Konan, who farms near Daloa. “If we don’t have at least one heavy downpour a week from now until the end of the month, the mid-crop will be over.”

In the coastal region of San Pedro, farmers reported several abundant downpours.

“If this rain continues with some sun, the end of the mid-crop will be bountiful. For the time being, there is not much cocoa,” farmer Labbe Zoungrana said.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, dry conditions helped farmers to dry and store their beans. One analyst reported no rainfall there last week, compared with 19.5 mm the previous week.

“It was very hot. That is good at this time of year because the plantations were very humid after weeks of rain,” said farmer Salam Kone, who farms near Soubre. “The beans were very dry and the buyers were happy.”

In the central region of Divo, farmers reported several rains interspersed with sunny spells.

“The pods and little flowers were well formed so the beans will be fat and there will be more cocoa in this region than there was last year,” said farmer Amadou Diallo, who farms near Divo.

He predicted abundant harvests until July, when output would tail off. In the south-eastern region of Aboisso, farmers said that an absence of rainfall had helped the harvest but said that swarms of insects had hindered work as farmers tried to avoid being stung or bitten.

Good growing conditions were reported in the southern region of Agboville and Tiassale, in the western regions of Duekoue and Gagnoa, and in the eastern region of Abengourou.

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