Arid Conditions In Ivory Coast Endanger Cocoa: Mid-Crop Farmers
Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is in its dry season from November to March.
Farmers said that flowers and cherelles were blooming on trees, but added that continuing arid weather could delay the first harvests from the April-to-September mid-crop and reduce bean quality.
"In addition to the dryness, there is also a heatwave. This is not good for cocoa," said Albert N’Zue, who farms near the centre-west region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output.
Farmers in central regions Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro also said they were unhappy with growing conditions and feared the spread of bushfires.
'Hoping For Rain'
In western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said they were hoping for rain to boost the mid-crop.
"We pray to God that it rains this week. That will help the fruits on the trees," said Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre.
Farmers in southern regions Agboville and Divo and in the eastern region of Abengourou said that beans on the trees were becoming smaller as the October-to-March main crop drew to a close.
Temperatures over the past week ranged from 25 to 29.2 degrees Celsius.