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Lack of rain threatens mid-crop harvests of Ivory Coast cocoa

ABIDJAN: Low rainfall and dry Harmattan winds in most of Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions last week could impact April-to-September mid-crop harvests if conditions persist, farmers said on Monday.

The world’s top cocoa producer is in its dry season, which runs from mid-November to March, when rains are poor and scarce.

Between December and March, the dry Harmattan wind blows from the Sahara Desert. It can damage the crop when strong.

Several farmers across the country said the bulk of harvesting for the October-to-March main crop would be completed by mid-January.

Farmers in central regions said crops would fare well despite low rainfall and Harmattan winds as long as rain picked up before mid-January.

“If we have a good shower before mid-January and the Harmattan is not too strong, we will have enough good quality cocoa from February,” Joseph Bekoin, who farms near Bongouanou, where 0.1 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 2.5 mm below the five-year average.

Similar comments were made in the centre-western region of Daloa, and in the central region of Yamoussoukro, where there was no rain last week.

Rains were below average in the western region of Soubre, the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, and the eastern region of Abengourou, where farmers said the Harmattan was mild.

“The Harmattan has arrived. If is strengthens over the next two weeks it will reduce harvests,” said Augustin Assandre, who farms near Soubre, where 4.4 mm fell last week, 2.5 mm below average.

Average temperatures ranged between 26.5 and 27.8 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.

Lack of rain threatens mid-crop harvests of Ivory Coast cocoa

Source: Brecorder

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