Cool weather, cloudy skies worrying for Ivory Coast cocoa crop

July 30, 2013

cocoa growing
cocoa growing

Cloudy skies and cool temperatures across most of Ivory Coast’s main cocoa regions last week fuelled concerns for the early development of the next main crop harvest, farmers said on Monday. While harvesting of the current mid-crop continues, farmers are now closely monitoring the weather to determine whether it will aid or hamper development of the October-to-March main cocoa crop.

Farmers have said the setting of flowers and small pods that will become next season’s cocoa appeared promising, but recent weeks marked by cool temperatures and little sunshine could threaten their survival. In the western region of Soubre, in the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers reported no rainfall during the week.

“It’s not good weather. It’s not raining and there isn’t any sunshine. The flowers and cherelles (small pods) are in danger,” said Lazare Ake, who farms on the outskirts of Soubre. “If this cool weather continues, the flowers will fall off and the small pods will turn yellow,” he said. In the western region of Daloa, responsible for about a quarter of Ivory Coast’s cocoa output, farmers also reported no rain and overcast skies.

“It’s worrying. There are flowers falling off because for two weeks now it’s been very cool. This is a period when we need lots of sunshine,” said Attoungbre Kouame, who farms near Daloa. Similar growing conditions were reported in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo, in the south-eastern region of Aboisso, and in the eastern region of Abengourou, near the border of Ghana

“Many flowers are now turning into cherelles and it’s too early to say that the lack of sun will have an impact on the harvest,” said Kouao N’Dri, who farms near the village of Niable in the Abengourou region. “I think we’ll have to wait until mid-August before we can make a proper forecast,” he added. In the coastal region of San Pedro, farmers reported several light showers. “It’s overcast and the cool temperatures are a problem. Many small pods have started to darken…If the flowers fall off, we’re worried there won’t be enough cocoa for the main crop,” said San Pedro farmer Tchorna Silue.Courtesy Reuters

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