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Abundant rains in Ivory Coast to boost cocoa mid-crop, farmers say

FILE PHOTO: Viviane Kouame, Ivorian chocolate artisan who aims to promote country's origin, touches cocoa pods during the collect at a farm in Sinfra, Ivory Coast, April 29, 2023. REUTERS/Luc Gnago/File Photo

May 22, 2023 _ ABIDJAN (Reuters) – The development of the April-to-September mid-crop could finish strong due to above average rains in most of Ivory Coast’s main cocoa growing regions, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in its rainy season which runs officially from April to mid-November.

Farmers said that the weather should help plenty of small pods and cherelles to develop, although some feared that deliveries might become mouldy as it was difficult to dry the beans properly.

“It rains almost every other day. It’s good for the trees and young fruit,” said Armand Gode, who farms near Soubre, where 109.5 millimetres (mm) fell last week, 71.4 mm above the five-year average.

In the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rains were well above average, farmers forecast an abundant harvest from mid-August but complained about drying conditions.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were below average, farmers said the level of downpours was sufficient to help the trees.

“There is no problem. We have a lot of young fruit on the trees that are developing well,” Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa, where 21.5 mm fell last week, 3.1 mm below the average.

Average temperatures ranged from 27 to 30.2 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Anait Miridzhanian and Christina Fincher)

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