Ivory Coast abundant rains favorable for cocoa crop

Reuters News
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Posted: May 23, 2016 8:59 AM

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Abundant rain that continued last week in most of Ivory Coast's primary cocoa growing regions will boost the growth of flowers and pods on the trees, although harvesting remained weak and the quality of beans had not yet improved, farmers said on Monday.

The world's top cocoa producer is in its rainy season, with heavy downpours in the coastal regions and forest areas expected to continue until the end of June.

The rains are welcome to farmers during the mid-crop, which runs from April to September. Farmers said they needed sun and downpours until the end of June for the harvest to improve.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, an analyst reported 37 millimeters of rains this week, compared with 64 mm last week.

Lazare Ake, who farms on the outskirts of Soubre, said the harvest was poor and beans were tiny.

But he was optimistic about the change rains could bring, saying, "It's been two weeks of good rain, good for the development of flowers and pods."

In the center-western region of Daloa, which alone produces a quarter of Ivory Coast's national output, farmers reported one heavy downpour for the second consecutive week.

"We are happy because the soil moisture content is improving and that will support the blooming that is underway," said farmer Marcel Aka, who farms near Daloa.

Good growing conditions were reported in southern regions of Aboisso, Agboville and Tiassale.

However, farmers were not happy with the rains in eastern region of Abengourou, in western region of Gagnoa, and in southern region of Divo.

Amadou Diallo, who farms in the outskirts of Divo, said the hot weather after the rains had negated the impact of the downpours. "We need more rain before the end of the month or the mid-crop will be a failure," Diallo said.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Makini Brice and David Evans)