Another week of heavy rains in Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions has raised farmers' expectations for a strong October-to-March main crop, with some already anticipating a harvest as abundant as the previous season.
The world's top cocoa producer is in its rainy season, which runs from April to mid-November. Downpours are frequent during that period.
Farmers across the West African nation told Reuters that their trees were laden with ripening cocoa, its development spurred by several weeks of heavy rains and intermittent sunshine.
"We hope to have a lot of beans this year," said Kouassi Kouame, who farms in the western region of Soubre. "The harvest will really start to climb in October."
Data collected by Reuters showed that 25.3 millimetres (mm) of rain fell in Soubre last week, 10.3 mm above the five-year average.
Similar rainfall was reported in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro.
Farmers in those and other cocoa-growing regions told Reuters they expect to begin harvesting within two months. If the optimal balance of rain and sun continues into September, the main crop could extend well into next year, they said.
"The weather will be good for having lots of beans to sell early in the season," said Patrice N'Goin, who farms near Daloa where 30.1 mm fell last week, 3.3 mm above the five-year average.
Last week's average temperature in Ivory Coast ranged from 25.3 to 28 degrees Celsius.