Ample rainfall last week in some of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions brought welcome relief following a dry spell that had threatened to deplete the upcoming mid-crop harvest, farmers said on Monday.
But hot, arid conditions persisted elsewhere, deepening concern among local growers about their prospects for the April-to-September mid-crop.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in its dry season, which runs from November to March.
Farmers were happy with the rainfall in the western regions of Soubre and Man and in the southern region of Divo, which all recorded above-average precipitation.
Farmers there said that harvesting from the main crop was tailing off but that there were still significant volumes of beans in the bush. They said more rainfall before the end of the month could bolster the mid-crop.
"The trees really need this rain. It was about time because there are many flowers and cherelles on the trees," said Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre, the heart of the cocoa belt.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre was 25.9 millimetres (mm) last week, 19.2 mm above the five-year average.
The western region of Man received 14.1mm last week, 8mm above average, and the southern region of Divo received 11.3 mm, 2.5 mm above average.
But in the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces one-quarter of Ivory Coast's output, farmers said they had not had enough rain.
"We need more water before the end of the month. The plants are suffering with lots of dry leaves," said Desire Allangba, who farms near the city of Daloa. Rainfall there was 6.1 mm last week, 2.2 mm below average.
Farmers in the centre-west also said tight supply meant cooperatives were receiving an extra 25 CFA francs ($0.04) per kg above the farmgate price of 825 CFA per kg.
Farmers reported similar growing conditions in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, in the eastern region of Abengourou and in the southern region of Agboville.
Temperatures over the past week ranged from 26.1 to 29.3 degrees Celsius.