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Ivory Coast rain could boost cocoa yield, prolonged hot weather a concern

  • Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in the dry season, which runs from mid-November to March, when downpours are poor or scarce.
  • The heat is too much. If it continues for weeks without a good rainfall, most of the flowers and tiny pods will fall off.
08 Feb 2021

ABIDJAN: Weak rains last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa regions could boost the April-to-September mid-crop, but high temperatures will pose a risk if they continue too long, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in the dry season, which runs from mid-November to March, when downpours are poor or scarce.

Rainfall was below average in the centre-west region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, and farmers said plenty pods of different sizes were on trees, signalling an abundant harvest.

But the farmers are worried that prolonged hot weather could suck the soil moisture and kill young pods and flowers.

"The heat is too much. If it continues for weeks without a good rainfall, most of the flowers and tiny pods will fall off," said farmers Robert Allangba, who farms near Daloa.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 0.9 millimetres (mm) last week, 4.4 mm below the five-year average.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, and in the western region of Soubre, farmers said the level of rains was enough to boost the yield from the trees.

"There was a bit of rain, and all is well in the farms," said Guillaume Kouadio, who farms near Abengourou where 4.8 mm fell last week, 0.2 mm above the average.

Divo received 3.4 mm last week, 2.3 mm below the average, Agboville 4.1 mm, 0.2 mm below the average while 1.5 mm fell in Soubre, 3.6 mm below the average.

Farmers in Agboville and Divo said some purchases have resumed but demand was still timid, although buyers were paying the farmgate price of 1,000 CFA francs ($1.85). Farmers in the western regions of Duekoue and Man however, said they were struggling to sell at between 700 francs CFA to 800 francs CFA per kg.

Last week's average daily temperatures ranged from 28.7 to 32.3 degrees Celsius.