Ivory Coast rains to boost cocoa main crop - farmers
ABIDJAN, July 29 (Reuters) - Above-average rainfall last
week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions will boost
the October-to-March main crop, but more sun is still needed,
farmers said on Monday.
The mid-crop, which lasts from April to September in the
world's top cocoa producer, is coming to an end as few beans
were leaving farms and producers focus on the main crop.
Farmers said they were happy with the rains, which would
bring many pods to be harvested from mid-September to November.
But more sun would be needed over the coming weeks to avoid
diseases in plantations and help pods grow bigger, they said.
In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a
quarter of Ivory Coast's cocoa, growers said they were confident
the start of the upcoming main crop harvest would be abundant
and of good quality.
"Everything is going well on the cocoa trees. A lot of pods
have grown well and within a month and a half we will start
harvesting," said Marcel Kamenan, who farms near Daloa.
"We still need good rains and sunshine next month," Kamenan
Data showed rainfall in Daloa, including the region of
Bouafle, was 58.2 millimetres last week, 35.3 mm above average.
In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa
belt, farmers said they were expecting as healthy a crop as last
season's if the weather remained adequate next month.
"We have a lot of big pods on trees, and flowers and
cherelles are still proliferating. It's a good sign," said
Kouassi Kouame, who farms near Soubre.
"Sunshine is average," however, he said.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Soubre, which
includes the regions of Sassandra and San Pedro, was 33 mm last
week, 14.5 mm above the five-year average.
Farmers were optimistic about the main crop in the southern
region of Divo, where data showed rainfall of 43 mm last week,
28.6 mm above average.
In the central region of Bongouanou, rains were at 28.7 mm,
13.2 mm above average and the central region of Yamoussoukro saw
38.6 mm of rain, 22.7 mm above average.
In the western region of Man, farmers were concerned heavy
rains would bring diseases, after rainfall reached 75.9 mm last
week, 45.8 mm above the five-year average.
"If it keeps raining like this over the coming weeks, we
fear insects and diseases will spread on the plantations," said
Moussa Kone, who farms near Man.
Rains were below average in the southern region of Agboville
and in the eastern region of Abengourou but farmers there
reported no damage.
Average temperatures ranged between 23.9 and 26.2 degrees
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Anna
Pujol-Mazzini and Dale Hudson)
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