Ivory Coast Rains Threaten Cocoa Crops

Posted by Michelle Howard
Monday, June 23, 2014
Cocoa Pod

Heavy rains last week in the coastal and southern regions of Ivory Coast's main cocoa growing zone threatened the last stage of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday, though conditions remained good elsewhere.

The marketing season for the mid-crop in the world's top cocoa grower opened on April 1 and harvesting is expected to decline from mid-July. Farmers said the focus of growers' concern over the weather was switching to the main crop.

"There is too much rain. There's water everywhere in the camps. It's not good for the pods that are on the trees," said Tchorna Silue, who farms on the fringes of the coastal region of San Pedro, adding that disease is a risk.

In the southeastern region of Aboisso, farmers said rain caused some pods to rot on the trees.

"There was too much rain and the weather is overcast. If the sun does not come out a lot in the coming weeks, pods that should be harvested in July and August will rot on the trees," said farmer Etienne Yao, who farms near Aboisso.

Similar growing conditions were reported in the western region of Duekoue.

Growing conditions however improved in the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, where an analyst reported 42 mm of rains, compared with 57 mm the previous week.

"There was a bit of sun. If it keeps up pods will grow well," said Lazare Ake who farms near Soubre, adding that the harvest was starting to decline for some in his area.

In the western region of Daloa, which produces one-quarter of the country's output, farmers said good rainfall mixed with sun would strengthen the quality of beans by July.

Good growing conditions were reported in the eastern region of Abengourou and in the southern region of Divo.

(Reporting By Loucoumane Coulibaly; editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Keiron Henderson)

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