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Cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast welcome heavy rains after brief dry spell

09/20/2021 | 08:08am EDT

ABIDJAN, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Above average rains were recorded in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions last week, bolstering the potential for high-yield harvests ahead of the marketing season if accompanied by occasional dry spells, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer is heading towards the end of its April to mid-November rainy season when downpours are abundant.

Cocoa production requires heavy rain with intervals of sunny spells for growing and drying the beans.

Farmers in the central regions of Bongouanou, Yamoussoukro and Daloa welcomed last week's rains, which had followed a spell of dry weather the week before.

"The cocoa trees have received good moisture. The quality of beans will be good until January at least," said Albert N'Zue, who farms near Daloa, where 33.1 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 2.5 mm above the average.

But in the western region of Soubre, at the heart of Ivory Coast's cocoa belt, farmers cautioned that more dry spells would be needed to prevent beans from moulding after they are harvested.

"We need more sun to improve the quality of beans," said Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre, where 46 (mm) fell last week, 27.2 mm above the five-year average.

Sunny or not, farmers across the country expect harvesting to pick up in early October, when new farmgate prices are announced.

The weekly average temperature in Ivory Coast ranged from 25.3 to 27.8 degrees Celsius last week.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Colibaly Editing by Cooper Inveen and David Evans)

© Reuters 2021
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