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Soil Moisture Helps Ivory Coast Cocoa Main Crop Despite Poor Rains

By Reuters
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Soil Moisture Helps Ivory Coast Cocoa Main Crop Despite Poor Rains

Rains were below average last week in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa growing regions but soil moisture content was still high enough to help strengthen the next October-to-March main crop, farmers said.

The world's top cocoa producer is in its rainy season, which runs officially from April to mid-November.

Farmers said the weather in September would be crucial for the quality and the size of the crop in the first three months of the new marketing season.

Read More: Chocolate Makers' Prospects Sour As Cocoa Prices Spike

More sunny spells and adequate moisture would be needed next month to boost cocoa quality and to avoid diseases in plantations, farmers said.

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"If September is sunny and there is enough rain, the main crop will be plentiful and of good quality," said Paul Bohui, who farms near the western region of Soubre, where 4 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 11.8 mm below the five-year average.

Below-Average Rainfall

Similar views came from the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rainfall was also below average.

Harvesting has started in some areas but remained modest, said farmers from the centre-western region of Daloa and the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were below average. They added that the cocoa outlook in the region appeared promising.

"The weather is good. There is a bit of cocoa that is starting to come out of the bush, but we'll have to wait until October for big harvests," said Lucien Kacou, who farms near Bongouanou, where 8.5 mm fell last week, 7.2 mm below the average.

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Ivory Coast's average temperatures ranged from 24.6 to 27.7 degrees Celsius last week.

 

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