Mainly below average rains last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions bode well for the development of the forthcoming October-to-March main crop amid concerns damp-linked disease could damage pods, farmers said.
In the bush, farmers were expecting to handle more beans this season than last year, while harvesting was picking up ahead of the start of the new marketing season early in October.
Farmers said there were plenty of buyers on the ground but they were reluctant to sell beans in the expectation of a higher farm gate price in the new season.
More sunny spells will be needed to combat fungal black pods disease, which is appearing in some plantations following recent abundant rains, they said.
"It's not worrying for the moment, but if it rains too much in the coming weeks, there will be some crop losses," said Albert N’Zue, who farms near the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s national output.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 21.9 mm last week, 8.7 mm below the five-year average.
In the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were well above average, and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rainfall was below average, farmers reported similar concerns.
Tightness Of Supply
In the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, and in the western region of Man, where rainfall was below average, farmers said there would be no tightness of supply until February if rainfall was mixed with good sunny spells in October.
In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said they needed more sun to dry the first beans of the main crop.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre was 16.2 mm last week, 2.9 mm below the five-year average.
Average temperatures over the past week ranged from 24.2 to 26.3 degrees Celsius across the country.