Cool, cloudy conditions persist across Ivory Coast cocoa regions

August 06, 2013

cocoa growing
cocoa growing

Cool weather and overcast skies persisted across most of Ivory Coast’s main cocoa regions last week as worries about a poor start to the next main crop harvest grew amid the first appearance of disease, farmers said on Monday. The world’s top grower is now harvesting mid-crop cocoa but growers are keeping a close eye on the current weather conditions that will either help or hinder the 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 appear promising but recent weeks marked by cool temperatures and little sunshine could threaten their survival. In the southern region of Divo, farmers reported cool, cloudy conditions and no rain during the week.

“The current weather isn’t good for cocoa. There’s no rain and it’s cool. The new cherelles (small pods) are suffering,” said Amadou Diallo, who farms in the outskirts of Divo. “Many cherelles are dried out. If this cold lasts, October harvesting will be weak compared to last season,” he said. Similar growing conditions were reported in the western regions of Soubre and Gagnoa.

“We have a problem of rain and it’s very cold. It doesn’t look good for the start of the main crop in October,” said Gagnoa farmer and co-operative manager Francois Badiel. In the western region of Daloa, responsible for about a quarter of Ivory Coast’s cocoa output, farmers said fungal black pod disease had begun to appear on some plantations. “The skies are overcast. We’re starting to see a few cases of black pod, but it’s not yet alarming,” said Attoungbre Kouame, who farms near Daloa.

“There are now many mid-sized pods. The harvest will start early here in mid-September. But well before that we’ll need a lot of sunshine so the pods can develop normally,” he added. Similar, growing conditions were reported in the south-eastern region of Aboisso and in the eastern region of Abengourou, near the border of Ghana. In the coastal region of Sassandra, farmers said they were concerned about the impact of the cool weather and the lack of sunshine. Courtesy Reuters

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