Plentiful rains last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions will help produce a large and good quality crop during the first three months of the October-to-March harvest, farmers said on Monday.
Farmers across the world's top cocoa producer said the main crop was developing well, with many pods almost ripe, and a few areas beginning to harvest.
In the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the good quality of its beans, farmers said harvesting has started, with buyers offering between 600 and 650 CFA franc ($1.17) per kilogram.
"The cocoa has done well. The trees are full of pods for many pickings until at least December. But farmers have started to hold back their beans in anticipation of the new price," said Narcisse Ekpan, who farms near Abengourou. The new price is expected in early October.
Impact Of Rainfall
In the western region of Man, farmers warned more heavy rain could damage immature pods or trigger a fungal disease called black pod, which spreads rapidly in such conditions.
"The pods are developing well in the plantations. But if the rains continue to be heavy, we will have a lot of losses in our harvests," said Lacina Bamba, who farms near Man, where 82.8 millimetres (mm) fell last week, almost double the five-year average.
In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were well above the average, farmers said the main crop would be concentrated between November to January, if the weather remained good in September.
"The weather is very good. But we will need more sun to dry the first beans well in the coming weeks," said Albert N'Zue, who farmes near Daloa, where 60.1 mm fell last week, more than twice the average.
Weekly average temperatures ranged from 25 to 27.8 degrees Celsius (82.04°F).
In June of this year, Ivory Coast said it sold 950,000 tonnes of cocoa in contracts by the end of May for the 2021/2022 season at a country discount instead of its usual country premium.