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Rain Seen Helping Boost Cocoa Crops in Ivory Coast, Ghana

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Rain in cocoa-producing countries in West Africa, the world’s main growing region, is set to help the development of the mid-crop, the smaller of two annual harvests that usually starts in April.

Most of Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world’s largest cocoa producers, will get 10 millimeters to 20 millimeters (0.4 inch to 0.8 inch) of rainfall by March 3, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington. Precipitation in some areas of Ghana will be as much as 50 millimeters, data on the NOAA’s website show.

Cocoa climbed 9.9 percent in London this year on speculation dry conditions would hurt the development of the crops. The dry harmattan winds from the desert are stronger, according to Antoine Koffi Kouassi, an agro-meteorology engineer at Ivory Coast’s National Meteorological Service.

“Rains are likely to improve crop prospects in West Africa after dryness had caused concerns about production,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said today by e-mail. “Prices should pare some of their recent gains as a result.”

The central-western Daloa region, Ivory Coast’s biggest growing area, received some rain earlier this month, with the Daloa weather station registering rainfall of 6.1 millimeters from Feb. 11 to 20 and 15.8 millimeters from Feb. 1 to 10, according to data on Bloomberg. The region produces an average 300,000 metric tons of cocoa a year.

Southwestern Rains

The southwestern Soubre region in Ivory Coast, which produces about 300,000 tons annually, also received rainfall, with the town of San Pedro getting 20.6 millimeters between Feb. 11 to 20 and 15.1 millimeters a week earlier. The town of Sassandra received 9.5 millimeters of rain between Feb. 11 to 20 and 12.6 millimeters the previous week and Tabou got 24.3 millimeters from Feb. 11 to 20 and 37.3 millimeters the previous week, the data show.

In Ghana, the Western region, which accounts for about 55 percent of the country’s output, also received rains from Feb. 11 to 20, data on Bloomberg show. The town of Sefwi Bekwai got 8.1 millimeters in the period, according to the data. A week earlier, Bogoso got as much as 51.9 millimeters.

Ivory Coast and Ghana accounted for 58 percent of global output last season, data from the London-based International Cocoa Organization show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Deane at jdeane3@bloomberg.net

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