Cocoa farmers expect abundant harvest as weather improves in Côte d’Ivoire

Cocoa harvesting
Cocoa harvesting

The size and quality of Côte d’Ivoire’s cocoa main crop would be boosted by last week’s mixture of sunshine and rain in primary cocoa-growing regions, farmers said on Monday.

The farmers said that though too much rain had caused black pod disease to spread in other areas.

Harvesting for the October-to-March main crop has begun and should last until February 2018 at least, if good weather continued through October, said farmers in the world’s top cocoa producer.

Growers are stockpiling their beans until the official start of the season on Oct. 1, when the government will set a new minimum price that was expected to be slightly higher than the current one, farmers said.

“We have rain and sun. It’s good and we think the harvest will be long and abundant,” said Amara Kone, who farms on the outskirts of the western region of Duekoue.

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said that harvesting was slow but would pick up gradually to reach its maximum by December.

“There is lot of sun. We hope it will continue so that we can dry the first beans well.

“The beans are currently very big and of good quality. They will sell well,” said Lazare Ake, who farms near Soubre.

But in the western region of Man and centre-western region of Daloa, which produce about a quarter of national output, farmers said that black pod disease was spreading.

“It is raining regularly. Many of the cocoa trees are affected by rot. There will be losses,’’ said Albert N‘Zue, who farms near Daloa.

In the past week, rainfall in the Daloa region including Bouafle reached 34.5 millimetres which is 3.9 millimetres above average levels, according to data collected by Reuters.

In the southern Soubre region including San Pedro and Sassandra, rainfall hit 11.1 millimetres or 8.9 millimetres below average, and in Man it was at 34.8 millimetres, 0.9 millimetre below average.

Forecast average temperatures ranged from 26.1 to 27.5 degrees Celsius, higher than the previous week.

Good growing conditions were reported in the southern regions of Agboville, Divo and Tiassale.