Ivory Coast rainfall encouraging for main crop outlook

Abundant rainfall last week in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa growing regions bodes well for the start of the main crop which kicks off officially next month, farmers said on Tuesday.

Farmers in the world's biggest cocoa grower said they expected sunny spells to strengthen the growth of beans after the rainfalls.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, which is known for high-quality beans, farmers reported three spells of rain mixed with sunshine.

"We need more rain and sun in the next weeks," said farmer N'Dri Kouao, who farms in Niable, near the border with Ghana. "The harvest will be small in October but there will be lots of beans of good quality that will emerge from November."

In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers said growing conditions were boosting the crop which should be plentiful until December, at least.

"It looks good because there are lots of small fruits on the trees as there were last year during the same period," said farmer Salame Kone, who farms near Soubre. "With the moisture in the soil, we think that the main crop will be very long with quality beans until next year."

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast's total output, farmers reported one abundant downpour during the week mixed with sunny spells.

Plentiful rain and favourable growing conditions were also reported in the southern regions of Aboisso, Agboville and Divo, in the western regions of Duekoue and Gagnoa and in the coastal region of Sassandra.