Dry Weather And Heat Threaten Ivory Coast's Cocoa Crop
Dry weather and heat last week in Ivory Coast's central cocoa-growing regions threatened to reduce the quantity and quality of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said, while conditions remained good in other regions.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in its dry season, which runs from mid-November to March, when downpours are scarce.
"The soil is becoming dry. We need a good rain before the end of the month or we will have losses," said Albert N'Zue, who farms near the centre-western region of Daloa.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 4 millimetres (mm) last week, 3.6 mm below the five-year average.
Rainfall was also below average in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where farmers said leaves had begun to dry on the trees.
A prolonged heatwave could worsen the quality of beans during the first three months of the mid-crop, farmers said.
However, rainfall was above average in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, in the eastern region of Abengourou and in the western region of Soubre, where farmers said they expected harvesting for the mid-crop to begin in April and pick up by mid-May.
"In three to fourth months we will have lots to harvest," said Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre.
Last week's average daily temperatures ranged from 28.1 to 32.2 degrees Celsius.