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ABIDJAN: Rainfall was below average last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions but good soil moisture content was helping the development of trees for the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

However, some farmers in the world’s top cocoa growing nation are reluctant to harvest the abundant pods on trees in the last stage of the ongoing October-to-March main crop due to an oversupply of beans and a lack of buyers.

“There is discouragement. If we carry out the harvest, how are we going to pay the workers,” said Basile Yavo, who farms near the southern region of Agboville where 5 millimetres (mm) fell last week, 2.5 mm above the five-year average.

Ivory Coast is in the middle of its dry season, which runs from mid-November to March, when rainfall is poor or scarce.

Farmers said they were optimistic about the outlook for the mid-crop as plenty of cherelles were turning into small pods thanks to a good weather since December.

They added that cocoa trees were carrying more small pods compared with last year in the same period.

Farmers in Agboville and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where 10.7 mm fell last week, 7.7 mm above the average said the weather was fine for the mid-crop.

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