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Ivory Coast Rains Spur Cocoa Mid-Crop After Dry Spell

Above-average rain persisted in parts of Ivory Coasts' cocoa-growing regions for a second week in a row last week after months of dry weather, improving growing conditions for the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is at the end of its November-to-March dry season, when scarce downpours affect crops.

Many farmers said mid-crop yields would still be limited in April but would gradually increase from May.

The October-to-March main crop was almost tailed off, they added.

Farmers in the western region of Soubre, the southern region of Divo and in the centre-western region of Daloa said above-average rain was strengthening flowers and pods.

Plenty of new pods will bloom if the wet weather continues, which will boost the June harvest, they added.

Harvest Forecast

"There are new blossoms. The harvest will start shyly in April but will increase in the following months if it continues to rain," said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa, where 40.8 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 24 mm above the five-year average.

Rain was still below average in the southern regions of Agboville and Abengourou, although farmers there still expected volumes of beans to start leaving the bush from mid-May.

But farmers in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro said the weather was still too dry and hot, and warned of a delayed mid-crop if the lack of rain persisted.

"It is very hot and not raining enough. There is a risk the mid-crop will start late," said Paul Kamenan, who farms near Bongouanou, where 1.5 mm of rain fell last week, 13.4 mm below the average.

Farmers said buyers were rejecting several deliveries as beans were too small.

Average temperatures ranged from 28.2 to 33.6 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. For more retail stories, click here. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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