Rain and hot weather last week in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa growing regions should help the April-to-September mid-crop as the main crop tails off, farmers and analysts said on Monday. The world's top cocoa producer is in a dry season that runs from mid-November to March, but the mid-crop needs a downpour each week over the next two months to encourage the flowers that become pods, farmers said.
In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, one analyst reported 35 millimetres of rain last week, compared with 9 millimetres the previous seven days.
Lazare Ake, who farms on the outskirts of Soubre, said: "It rained well. We are happy because the conditions for good flowering are coming into place. March will be decisive for the mid crop. If there's enough water in the next four weeks the trees will become strong."
In the western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast's output, farmers said rain was patchy.
"We need more humidity in the months ahead. But with the rain that we're starting to have, we think that the mid-crop will start slowly in April and grow through the end of May," said Abel Kouame, who farms in the outskirts of Daloa, adding that the main crop is almost over.
Good growing conditions were also reported in the southern regions of Aboisso, Agboville and Divo, in the central region of Yamoussoukro and in the western region of Gagnoa.
In the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the quality of its beans, farmers said they were happy with the weather. If the rain continues we're going to have cocoa in April," said Kouao N'Dri, who farms in Niable near the border of Ghana.