Rains last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions were below average but thanks to good soil moisture, enough large pods were ripening on trees for a strong start to the October to March main harvest, farmers said on Monday.
In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s output, some farmers said they were reluctant to sell beans as they expected better farmgate prices at the start of the new marketing season in October.
“The pickings are small. Planters who currently have three bags are selling one and keeping the rest for the start of the marketing season," said Kouadio Brou, who farms near Daloa.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 11.5 millimetres (mm) last week, 15.5 mm below the five-year average.
Rainfall Below Average
Rainfall was also below average in the southern regions of Divo and Agboville, the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, the western region of Man and the eastern region of Abengourou.
Farmers said they have applied appropriate chemicals and fertilisers to ensure trees were carrying a good variety of small, average and large pods for a healthy harvest.
The harvest will rise gradually from mid-September until the end of the year, they said.
In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said the focus was now on good rainfall in the next two months.
“If it rains well in September and October, we will have a lot of picking to do compared to last season,” said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre of 1.1 mm last week, 13.9 mm below the five-year average.
Average temperatures over the past week ranged from 24.3 to 27.2 degrees Celsius across the country.