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ABIDJAN: Above average rainfall was recorded in Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions last week, raising expectations for a strong finish of the April-to-September mid-crop cocoa harvest, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower, is in the middle of its March-to-November rainy season when downpours are abundant. Farmers need a mix of heavy rainfall and sunny spells to grow cocoa.

Farmers welcomed last week's rains after more than a month of dry conditions, saying that the downpour will strengthen crops for a significant harvest from mid-August.

But there were concerns over the shortage of buyers, farmers said. Lack of proper storage and drying conditions could hurt the quality of their beans if the heavy rains continue, they added.

Several cocoa cooperatives managers told Reuters that major grinders have reduced their purchases due to power cuts that have hampered operations.

The west African nation is suffering from severe power outages with power rationed to users due to a drop in generation capacity since late-April. This has reduce its grinding capacity.

The cooperative managers said grinders will raise purchases when power supply becomes regular, expected around July.

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