Heavy rain last week in most of Ivory Coast‘s cocoa-growing regions revived hopes of a strong April-to-September mid-crop after an extended dry spell, farmers said on Monday.
Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is at the end of its dry season, which runs from mid-November to March.
This season has been dryer than usual and farmers around the country welcomed abundant rain last week, saying it would help to produce a significant harvest from late May.
If rain continues regularly from April, the bean supply will improve in June and hold through August, farmers said.
“We are very happy. We weren’t expecting such rain now. We hope the mid-crop will have a good yield,” said Ghislain Angovi, who farms near the central region of Yamoussoukro, where 77.7 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 60.7 mm above the five-year average.
The centre-western region of Daloa had 77.1 mm of rain last week, 58.5 mm above the average, and the central region of Bongouanou received 43.8 mm, 26.5 mm above the average.
However, farmers said they did not expect bean quality to improve before June. Ivoirian exporters have been rejecting about half of bean deliveries in recent weeks because the dry weather led to poor quality.
In the western region of Soubre and in the southern region of Divo, where rains were well above average, farmers said they thought the mid-crop would reach its peak in June and July.
“Everything is in place on the trees and the fruits are developing well,” said Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre, where 21.7 mm of rain fell last week, 8.7 mm above the average.
Good growing conditions were reported in the central region of Agboville and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rains were also above the average.
Most farmers said they were waiting for the new farmgate price to be set later this month before selling their last beans from the main crop, since poor bean size and quality has made the current price low.
Buyers have offered about 600 CFA francs ($1.01) per kg, while the guaranteed farmgate price is 825 CFA francs per kg.
Average temperatures ranged from 28.1 to 32.2 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.