ABIDJAN (Reuters) - The sunniest weather in three months should improve the size and quality of Ivory Coast's main crop just before harvesting picks up next month, farmers said on Monday.
A break in the rain in the world's top cocoa producer has provided relief to farmers who have expressed concern about high levels of soil moisture in recent weeks. The sun will help to dry out beans and strengthen pod development, they said.
"The sun has been very strong this week. If it continues, the quality of the beans will be very good," said Salame Kone, who farms on the outskirts of the western region of Soubre in the heart of the cocoa belt.
The 2017/18 season officially started on Oct. 1.
Data collected by Reuters showed the temperature in cocoa regions ranged last week from 26 degrees Celsius to 28.7 degrees.
Rain in the Soubre region was at 19.3 mm, 1.4 mm below the average and way down on the 74.8 mm recorded the previous week.
In the central western region of Daloa, farmers said weather conditions remained good for the main crop, which runs from October through March. Rainfall reached 7 mm, 11.3 mm below the average and down from 29.4 mm the previous week.
In the southern region of Divo there was 10.7 mm of rain, 11.5 mm below the average and down from 48.3 mm.
Farmers were also encouraged in the eastern region of Aboisso, where data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall was at 21.7 mm, 4.1 mm below the average and down from 57.7 mm the previous week.
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Edward McAllister and David Goodman)