More rain is needed in Ivory Coast's main cocoa-growing regions this month to boost growth of the October-to-March main crop before the onset of the dry season, farmers said.
Rain was below average last week in most of its cocoa-growing regions. Farmers across the country said that the flowers and small pods currently on trees needed adequate moisture to strengthen their development before the dry season.
In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was below the average last week, farmers said they worried that the seasonal Harmattan wind might come early this season.
The dry Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara Desert yearly between December and March. It can damage the crop when strong.
"We have lots of flowers and small pods on trees but we have the impression given the weather that the Harmattan will come early this year," said Noel Kouassi, who farms near Daloa, where 5.2 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 10.1 mm below the five-year average.
In the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, farmers said the hot weather was helping them to properly dry their beans.
In the western region of Soubre, in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rainfall was below the average, farmers said the availability of beans was rising compared with previous weeks as harvesting picked up.
"There are enough ripe pods on the trees. Lots of beans are being harvested," said Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre, where 9.2 mm of rain fell last week, 15.3 mm below the average.
Average temperatures ranged from 27.4 to 29.6 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.