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Farmers say weather helping Ivory Coast's main cocoa crop

Credit: REUTERS/THIERRY GOUEGNON

Well-above average rains mixed with sunny spells last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions provided the conditions for cocoa pods to ripen, and will likely boost the main crop, farmers said on Monday.

ABIDJAN, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Well-above average rains mixed with sunny spells last week in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions provided the conditions for cocoa pods to ripen, and will likely boost the main crop, farmers said on Monday.

Farmers in the world's top cocoa producer said weather conditions were favourable and they were confident of an abundant harvest until January, as buyers ready to begin purchases

Farmers said good weather in November would also strengthen the crop in February and March, potentially paving the way for a bigger main crop than last season.

The main crop totalled 1.69 million tonnes in the 2019/2020 season.

Some cooperative managers said buyers were seeking to collect more beans in case of political turmoil that could prevent them from fulfilling their contracts.

Ivory Coast holds a presidential election on Oct. 31 in which incumbent Alassane Ouattara is seeking a third term, amid violent protests that have killed over a dozen.

"We expect a lot more harvest from next month, and the harvest campaign is going to be long," said Eugene Badou, who farms near the eastern region of Abengourou, known for the good quality of its beans.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Abengourou was 77.1 millimeters (mm) last week, 50.5 mm above the five-year average.

In the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rainfall was also well above the average, farmers said if the favourable mix of sun and moisture continued next month there would be no shortage of beans in February and March.

In the central regions of Agboville and Divo, and in the western regions of Man and Soubre, where rainfall was well-above average too, farmers said they expected more sunny spells which would enable them dry beans properly and keep them in good storage conditions.

Average daily temperatures ranged from 25.5 to 28.8 degrees Celsius last week.

"Farmers are making a lot more money now because there is abundant cocoa and in good quality," said Albert N’Zue, who farms near the centre-western region Daloa, which produces a quarter of national output.

Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa was 47 mm last week, 26.3 mm above the average.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Mark Potter)

((loucoumane.coulibaly@thomsonreuters.com; +225 05083848;))

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