May 18, 2020 / 2:26 PM / 18 days ago

Ivorian late rains revive hopes for cocoa mid-crop -farmers

ABIDJAN, May 18 (Reuters) - Rainfall was still below average in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions last week but the arrival of downpours could help the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the rainy season, which runs from mid-March to late October when there are regular downpours.

Farmers said they expected harvesting to pick up in June compared with May as there were plenty of big pods on trees. Farmers said higher rainfall levels compared with the previous week and late heavy rains could boost the trees.

However, some farmers said they feared beans would be of poor quality in the coming weeks as rainfall had not been adequate since April.

“There is hope for the near future. It rained a lot this morning,” said Justin Aleba, who farms on the outskirts of Soubre.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre, which includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was 13 millimetres (mm) last week, 25.4 mm below the five-year average.

In the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rainfall was below average, farmers said they expected abundant rains this week or next as the weather was hot and cloudy.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, farmers said heavy rainfall would boost the last stage of the mid-crop.

“The rains were so heavy last night we thought there’d be flooding this morning,” said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa, which received 18.3 mm of rain last week, 6.2 mm below average.

In the central regions of Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was 28.8 mm last week, 3 mm above average, and in Bongouanou where rainfall was 25.8 mm, 1.8 mm below average, farmers said they were happy as the weather was improving but they didn’t expect beans of good quality in coming weeks as moisture had not been good since April.

Temperatures over the past week ranged from 27.2 to 29.6 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Juliette Jabkhiro, Kirsten Donovan)

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