ABIDJAN, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Well-above average rains last
week in most of Ivory Coasts cocoa regions helped the
development of new small pods, as farmers held back their beans
ahead of the new marketing season, they said on Monday.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is due to open
the new marketing season on Oct. 1 with a new farmgate price for
the October-to-March main crop that will be over 20% higher than
the previous season, sources said last week.
Across the country, most farmers welcomed downpours that
should help the growth of a plentiful and good-quality crop for
harvesting from mid-November to January.
Farmers said they were reluctant to sell their beans at the
moment given the expected rise in the farmgate price at the
opening of the new season.
"Lots of farmers have cocoa in hand. But why sell when you
know the price will be better in two weeks," said Celestin Bile,
who farms near the centre-western region of Daloa, which
produces a quarter of Ivory Coasts national output.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 51.3
millimetres (mm) last week, 20.9 mm above the five-year average.
Rainfall was also above average in the western region of
Soubre, in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro,
and in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo. Farmers there
said the availability of beans in October would be better than
the previous season thanks to good growing conditions.
In the western region of Man farmers were worried about too
"Lots of cocoa is coming out of the bush. But the heavy
rains and little sunshine are preventing them from drying
properly," said Salif Diomande, who farms near Man.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Man was 95.9 mm
last week, 58 mm above the five-year average.
Meanwhile in the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the
good quality of its beans, farmers said they were concerned a
prolonged dry spell could shorten the main crop.
Average temperatures over the past week ranged from 24 to
26.6 degrees Celsius across the country.
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Susan Fenton)