Ivory Coast cocoa farmers say rainfall will boost main crop

ABIDJAN, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Above-average rainfall last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions will boost chances of a longer and larger October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.

They said plenty of pods were ripening on trees, forecasting an increase in harvesting from mid-September.

“If the rains continue, the beans will be good quality and plentiful into next year,” said Roger Koffi, who farms near the centre-western region Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 61.6 millimetres (mm) last week, 32.2 mm above the five-year average.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers were also positive on the outlook for their crop.

“We are well on track to have more abundant harvests in November and December,” said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre was 31.9 mm last week, 15.9 mm above the five-year average.

Rainfall was also above average in the southern region of Divo, in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, and in the western region of Man.

However, in the eastern region of Abengourou and in the southern region of Agboville, where rains were below average, farmers said that plantations needed more moisture to improve crop development.

Average temperatures over the past week ranged from 23.8 to 26.2 degrees Celsius across the country. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; editing by David Evans)