Heavy rains, a pleasant surprise for dry season cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire

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ABIDJAN, November 15 (Reuters)Unusually heavy rains in most of Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa-growing regions last week could give an early boost to the main October-March harvest just as the harvest begins to pick up, farmers said on Monday.

Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s largest producer of cocoa, enters the dry season when showers are weak or rare from around mid-November to March.

Farmers praised the unusually heavy rainfall, which they say will help trees laden with cocoa pods survive the next dry season.

If patchy rains continue until December and the remainder of the dry season is relatively mild, the main harvest will be bountiful and is expected to last longer than last year, farmers said.

“We are happy because these rains have been very useful. They will help the cocoa trees grow strong and get through the dry season, ”said Hervé Dalli, who operates a farm near Soubré, where 71.6 millimeters (mm) fell last week, 53.6 mm above the five-year average.

In the southern Divo and Agboville regions and in the eastern Abengourou region, where the rains have been well above average, farmers expect a long and uninterrupted main harvest, with deliveries leaving the bush in the region. less in January.

“Currently the bush beans are large and of good quality. We expect to make enough money in February and March due to the abundance of small pods on the trees, ”said Amadou Touré, who grows near Divo, where 49.4mm fell last week, 33 , 2 mm above average.

In the central-western region of Daloa and the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was also above average, farmers said the weather in December will determine the quality of the harvest in February and March.

“The farmers are confident because it continues to rain. We pray for a mild dry season from now on, ”said Jean-Pierre Amani, who cultivates near Daloa, where 10.8mm fell last week, 2.2mm above average.

Average temperatures ranged from 26.8 to 30.2 degrees Celsius in Côte d’Ivoire last week.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Cooper Inveen and Steve Orlofsky)

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