ABIDJAN: Little to no rain fell last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions, as farmers on Monday welcomed the good development of the April-to-September mid-crop.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in the dry season, which runs from mid-November to March, when rainfall is limited.

Farmers said good moisture content in the soil had helped plenty of small pods develop on trees - a strong start for the April mid-crop compared with the same period last year.

Farmers said February’s weather would determine the quality and size of the mid-crop as one light rainfall would further boost the outlook for the crop.

However, they said a lack of buyers meant they had insufficient money to spend on their plantations in this crucial period.

“Without upkeep of the plantations, production could fall,” said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the good quality of its beans, some growers were selling off their beans for between 800 and 850 CFA francs ($1.46 - $1.55) per kg, well below the minimum guaranteed price of 1,000 CFA.

In the southern region of Agboville, farmers said the mid-crop output could be better than last year depending on the February rains.

“The trees have a good yield,” said Charles Kokola, who farms near Agboville, where 1.1 millimetres of rain fell last week, 2 mm below the five-year average.

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