Heavy rains over most of Côte d’Ivoire cocoa-Growing regions last week rekindled hopes for a quick start to the main harvest from October to March, farmers said.
Top of the world 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 enthusiastically greeted the storms of the past week.
In early August, cocoa farmers said additional moisture would be needed for the mid-harvest from April to September to reach its maximum potential, following poor rainfall.
Better crop quality
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 central-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of the Ivorian national production cocoa production, farmers said their trees were loaded with fruits of different sizes. Some are already planning to start harvesting by mid-September.
“The main harvest is shaping up to be good. With lots of sun and rain in the coming weeks, we will have a lot of picking to do in October,” said 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 Soubré, 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.
“There is too much moisture under the trees. It will take more heat for enough pods to survive,” said Salame Koné, who cultivates near Soubré, where 20.2mm of rain fell last week, 5 , 2 mm above average.
Average temperatures in Côte d’Ivoire last week ranged from 24.6 to 26.7 degrees Celsius.