Above-average rain fall last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions could help spur an early start to the October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in its rainy season which runs from April to mid-November.
Farmers across the country said they expected the upcoming main crop to be bigger and last longer than the previous season's if there is adequate rain in September and October.
Young And Small-Sized Pods
The presence of cherelles (young pods) and small-sized pods alongside more mature pods on the trees suggest the main crop could last until February in most regions, farmers said.
Harvesting is due to start in early to mid-September and pick up from October, they added.
"The weather is good. We now need lots of sun to avoid diseases," said Albert N'Zue, who farms near the centre-western region of Daloa, where 44.6 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 18.8 mm above the five-year average.
Southern Region-Based Farmers
Farmers in the southern regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was also above average, made similar comments.
In the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and in the eastern region of Abengourou, farmers said a wave of large pods would be ripe by mid-September for an early start to harvesting.
Rainfall was below average in the western region of Soubre but farmers remained positive as they said the soil moisture content was high.
In the western region of Man, where 118 mm of rain fell last week, farmers said if the downpours continue it could damage the crop.
"If it rains hard in the coming weeks, it could make the small pods fall and reduce the harvest," said Namory Toure, who farms near Man.
Weekly average temperatures ranged from 24 to 24.8 degrees Celsius.