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Ivory Coast cocoa farmers say rains have boosted main crop

ABIDJAN, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Mainly above-average rains interspersed with sun last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions should improve the chances of a larger, higher-quality October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.

Farmers said the sunny conditions were helping dry beans, and there were sufficient buyers on the ground in the wake of the new farmgate price of 1,000 CFA francs ($1.80) per kg.

Most farmers said they expected the bulk of the main crop to leave the bush from November to January.

“Farms will produce more beans than last year if the rains are good this month,” said Alfred Badou, who farms near the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre was 32.7 millimetres (mm) last week, 11 mm above the five-year average.

In the western region of Man and the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, where rains were also above average, farmers said growing conditions were good and forecast an abundant harvest from November.

Meanwhile, in the southern regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, farmers welcomed sunny spells.

“We need lots of sun to combat black pod disease,” said Patrice Allangba, who farms near Bongouanou.

Although rains were below average in the centre-western region of Daloa and the eastern region of Abengourou, farmers said their crops were developing well thanks to good soil moisture.

Average temperatures over the past week ranged from 25.2 to 27.6 Celsius across the country. ($1 = 555.0000 CFA francs) (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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