ABIDJAN, Aug. 16 (Reuters) – Heavy rains that fell last week in most cocoa-growing areas of CÃ´te d’Ivoire have revived hopes for a quick start to the main harvest from October to March, officials said on Monday. farmers.
The world’s largest cocoa producer is in its rainy season, which runs from April to mid-November.
After several weeks of cold weather and below-average rainfall, farmers in the cocoa belt have enthusiastically greeted the storms of the past week.
If similar weather conditions extend into September and October, it could bode well for the size and duration of the next main harvest, farmers said.
In the west-central Daloa region, which produces a quarter of CÃ´te d’Ivoire’s national cocoa production, farmers said their trees were laden with fruits of different sizes. Some are already planning to start harvesting by mid-September.
âThe main harvest looks good. With a lot of sun and rain in the coming weeks, we will have a lot of picking to do in October, âsaid Jean Akessi, who cultivates near Daloa, where 51.4 millimeters (mm) of rain fell last week. , nearly double the five year average.
Rainfall was also well above average in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where farmers expressed similar enthusiasm for the main crop.
Others pointed out that while good rains are important, adequate sunshine would also be necessary to ensure healthy development.
In the western region of SoubrÃ©, the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, and the eastern region of Abengourou, farmers said sunnier periods would be needed to prevent the disease from spreading to their plantations.
âThere is too much humidity under the trees. It will take more heat for enough pods to survive, âsaid Salame KonÃ©, who operates a farm near SoubrÃ©, where 20.2mm of rain fell last week, 5.2mm above average.
Average temperatures in CÃ´te d’Ivoire last week ranged from 24.6 to 26.7 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Cooper Inveen and Jan Harvey)