Above-average rains last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa regions bode well for the start of the next main crop in October but high humidity has caused mould to grow on some beans being harvested for the ongoing mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.
The world’s top cocoa producer is in the middle of its rainy season. Farmers said that if strong rainfall continued in July, the October-to-March main crop would start early and yields would be good through the end of 2020.
“Almost everywhere in the bush, the trees are flowering well. It is a good sign for the main crop,” said Mathias Assemian, who farms in the centre-western region of Daloa, which accounts for a quarter of national output.
The farmers said significant numbers of pods remained to be harvested until August as part of the mid-crop harvest, but added buyers were complaining that current deliveries of beans were too humid and often mouldy.
Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa at 27 millimetres (mm) last week, 0.7 mm above the five-year average.
Rainfall was also above average in the western region of Man and in the eastern region of Abengourou.
It was below average in the western region of Soubre, the southern region of Divo and the central region of Bongouanou, but farmers said soil moisture content was sufficient to support the crop.
In the southern region of Agboville, which recorded 111.2 mm of rainfall last week, 59.7 mm above the average, farmers said it was difficult to properly dry their beans because of the wet and cloudy conditions.
“All the buyers say that our beans are very humid and often they talk about mould,” said Constant Ello, who farms near Agboville.
Temperatures over the past week ranged from 24.1 to 27.6 degrees Celsius.