ABIDJAN, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Cocoa farmers in top grower Ivory
Coast said on Monday that additional moisture would be needed
for the April-to-September mid-crop to reach its maximum
potential, following a week of lacklustre rainfall.
The West African nation is in its rainy season which runs
from April to mid-November. Downpours are typically frequent and
heavy over that period.
Most farmers surveyed by Reuters said that small pods were
developing well despite the recent dry spell, and that the first
beans should be available for harvest by next month.
Other farmers said more rains were needed to improve bean
quality and ensure that the mid-crop finishes strongly. Good
rainfall over the coming weeks would also get the
October-to-March main crop off to a healthy start, they said.
"It hasn't rained enough to have a lot of cocoa during the
first three months of the main crop," said Marc Aka, who farms
near Daloa, where rainfall was 0.8 millimetres (mm) below the
regional five-year average at 22.6 mm.
Rains also fell below five-year averages last week in the
central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro.
In the western region of Soubre and in the southern region
of Divo, where rainfall was above average last week, farmers
expressed confidence in the season's cocoa outlook.
Weather conditions through late September will be crucial in
determining whether the main crop will improve over the previous
season, they said.
"We have a lot of big pods on the trees. Pickings will start
slowly in September and increase in October," said Kouassi
Kouame, who farms near Soubre, where rainfall was 12.8 mm above
average at 29.7 mm.
Although rains were below the average in the southern region
of Agboville and in the eastern region of Abengourou, farmers
there also reported positive growing conditions and expect
harvesting to begin soon.
The average temperature in Ivory Coast last week ranged from
24.8 to 26.9 degrees Celsius.
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly;
Editing by Cooper Inveen and David Evans)