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Ivory Coast Cocoa Farmers Upbeat of Good Main Crop Following Rains

Cocoa pods are growing well in Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions, signalling an abundant start to the upcoming main crop despite below-average rains in some regions, farmers told Reuters on Monday.

Good soil moisture after weeks of sustained rains had helped pods develop, but farmers in Western regions were increasingly worried that diseases could spread due to humidity and a lack of sunshine, they said.

“The trees gave us good yields, but we are worried about high humidity which would cause pods to rot,” said Yacouba Fofana, who farms on the outskirts of Duekoue, in the western region of Man.

“We need a good mix of rain and sunshine.”

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Man, which includes Duekoue, was 42.7 millimetres (mm) last week, 9.9 mm above the five-year average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s cocoa, farmers said the weather would help the crop to last.

“We had good sunshine. With these rains, we can have a long harvest season,” said Albert N’Zue, who farms near Daloa.

Data showed rainfall in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was 30.2 mm last week, 6.4 mm above average.

Similar comments were reported in the central region of Bongouanou, where data collected by Reuters showed rainfall was 18.5 mm last week, 4 mm above average.

Although rains were below average in the western region of Soubre at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said the weather was paving the way for a good harvest as a new wave of small pods were developing on trees.

“We have had good weather. The pods which will be cut in December are getting into place,” said Lazare Ake, who farms near Soubre.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre, which includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was 7.6 mm last week, 8.5 mm below the five-year average.

Farmers reported good development of crops in the southern regions of Divo and Agboville, in central region of Yamoussoukro and Abengourou in the east, where rains were below average.

Average temperatures ranged from 23.5-25.5 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly, editing by Anna Pujol-Mazzini and David Evans)

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