A second consecutive week of light rain and mild winds across Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions could spell good news for the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said.
The world's top cocoa producer is in its dry season which runs from mid-November to March when downpours are scarce. Any rain during that period can bolster crops.
A seasonal wind known as Harmattan blows dust off the Sahara between December and March, reducing humidity and reducing sunlight.
Farmers across the country said they expect a healthy crop come April, with plenty of cherelles already developing on the cocoa trees. They said that the harvest will likely taper off near the end of the month before picking up again through February and March.
"If the weather stays good through the end of the month, many cherelles will survive into the mid-crop," said Kouassi Kouame, who farms in the western region of Soubre, where 5 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 1.1 mm above the five-year average.
Similarly favourable conditions were reported in the regions of Divo, where rainfall was above average, Agboville, where rains was slightly below average, Abengourou, where rainfall was below average.
Even in the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were poor last week, farmers said they still expect to harvest more beans next month compared with the same period last year.
"Many flowers have turned into cherelles, so we expect to have more beans in February than last year," said Celestin Brou, who farms near Daloa, where 0.5 mm of rain fell last week, 1.4 mm below the average.
Weekly average temperature ranged from 27.5 to 30.2 degrees Celsius.