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Ivory Coast farmers bullish about mid-crop as rainfall increases

A farmer works on cocoa pods at a farm in Toumodi, Ivory Coast in this file picture.
A farmer works on cocoa pods at a farm in Toumodi, Ivory Coast in this file picture.
Image: REUTERS/Thierry Gouegnon

Above average rains mixed with sun last week in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-producing regions have bolstered expectations for a strong April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer, is entering its rainy season, which runs from April to mid-November.

The West African country's southern and coastal regions are expected to see particularly high rainfall this year, the national weather forecasting body has said.

Farmers said the October-to-March main crop was tailing off, and that they anticipate new farmgate prices to be set in early April.

The guaranteed farmgate price is currently 1,000 CFA francs ($1.81) per kg.

"Everyone is waiting for the price of the mid-crop, because there will be a lot of cocoa," said Etienne Boka, who farms near Agboville in the south of the country. The price is set by the Coffee and Cocoa Council.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Agboville was 30.3 millimeters (mm) last week, 10.9 mm above the five-year average.

In the eastern region of Abengourou, where harvesting recently began, farmers reported high yields and good quality beans. Forty-three mm of rain fell in the region last week, 24.4 mm above the five-year average.

Rainfall was also above average in the southern regions of Divo, and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro.

Farmers expect harvest outputs to surge through April and May, after more pods fully ripen. In the western region of Soubre, farmers told Reuters that continuously overcast skies had given them reason for even further optimism.

Last week's average daily temperatures ranged from 27.8 to 31.8 degrees Celsius.

($1 = 554.0000 CFA francs)

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