Heavy rains in Ivory Coast raise fears for cocoa mid-crop

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 06, 2017 8:14 AM

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Heavy rains and overcast weather last week in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa regions fueled fears that flooding and disease could cut into production in the last stage of the mid-crop, farmers said on Tuesday.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in its rainy season and regular downpours are expected until next month, damaging the April-to-September mid-crop.

"This kind of heavy downpour is a real problem at a time when we have to harvest and to dry," said Amadou Diallo, who farms near the south region of Divo. "The risk of flooding and diseases is high."

Similar growing condition were reported in southern regions of Aboisso, Agboville and Tiassale, and in the western region of Duekoue.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which accounts for a quarter of Ivory Coast's output, farmers reported several heavy rains in the last week.

"The moisture content of the beans is rising. That's not good," said Aka Marcel, who farms in the outskirts of Daloa. "There will be a shortage of beans in the region by mid-July."

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers also reported several rains.

"We are optimistic here. We have not yet noticed serious damage," said Koffi Kouame, who farms near Soubre, though he said harvesting would drop sharply by next month.

(Reporting By Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Aaron Ross and Susan Thomas)