Ample rain last week in much of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions broke a dry spell and bode well for the development of the Oct-Sept main cocoa crop, farmers said on Monday.
The world's top cocoa producer is in the midst of its April-November rainy season, when downpours are frequent.
Farmers said flowers were in bloom and more cherelles had turned into small pods, pointing to an early harvest. They said it was too early to give a forecast of the size of the main crop compared with last year as the weather until mid-August would be crucial.
Farmers said that bean sales were still slow after weeks of power cuts disrupted the industry. Some cooperatives said some major exporters and grinders promised to resume purchases gradually in August.
"The September and October harvest is lining up. From mid August we will have a good idea about the main crop," said Paul Tokpa, who farms near the western region of Soubre, where 28 millimetres (mm) fell last week, 2.7 mm above the five-year average.
Farmers reported similar rainfall in the southern region of Divo, and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rains were above the average. In the southern region of Agboville, rains were below the average but farmers said the crop was developing well, thanks to good soil moisture.
In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, rains were below the average but farmers said many young fruits were appearing on trees as the soil moisture content was good.
Weekly average temperature ranged from 24 to 27.3 Celsius Degree.
Last month, Ivory Coast sold 950,000 tonnes of cocoa in contracts by the end of May for the 2021/2022 season at a country discount instead of its usual country premium, according to regulator and industry sources.