Rainfall was below average last week in most of Ivory Coast’s main cocoa-growing regions, but soil moisture from earlier rains was supporting development for the first month of the October-to-March main crop, farmers have said.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in its April-to-October rainy season. Farmers in the bush said trees carried plenty big pods for harvesting in September and October, despite the lower rainfall last week.
"The weather isn't bad, we will have lots to harvest come October," said Alfred Balou, who farms near Soubre.
Data collected Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre was 1.7 millimetres (mm) last week, 13.5 mm below the five-year average.
Farmers reported similar conditions across the cocoa belt.
In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of national output, farmers said if rainfall was adequate next month, the crop would be larger than last year.
“Harvesting will start early. There are lots of mature pods," said Koffi Konan, who farms in Daloa, where 5.9 mm fell last week, 18.8 mm below the average.
Average temperatures over the past week ranged from 23.2 to 25.6 degrees Celsius across the country.