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Ivory Coast Cocoa-Growing Areas Had More Moderate Rain Last Week

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June 16 (Bloomberg) -- Cocoa-growing areas in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer of the beans, had more moderate rains last week while farmers said the abundant rainfall recently made access to the farms difficult.

Rainfall averaged 9 millimeters (0.4 inches) a day in 15 cocoa-growing areas on June 10 to June 14, down from 13.8 mm the previous week, according to CICO Services, an agronomy intelligence agency based in Abidjan, the commercial capital. Combined precipitation for the areas fell to 676 mm from 1,446 mm.

Growing conditions will determine the size of the smaller of two annual crops, or the mid-crop, being collected along with the larger harvest that starts in October. Ivory Coast raised its output target for the current season through September to a record 1.6 million metric tons because of favorable rain, according to a person familiar with the government’s forecast who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

The weather was humid and cloudy last week, with the sun making some appearances, Clement Bouzon, a farmer cultivating 10 hectares (25 acres) in Tabou, said by phone today. “The flowers keep growing and the pods will be soon matured.”

The rainy season in Ivory Coast’s southern forest regions, where the cocoa beans are grown, started in March and should last until the end of June. The country’s southwestern region got more rain last week than other cocoa areas, according to CICO data. The coastal towns of San Pedro and Tabou got 15 mm and 20 mm of rain a day respectively. The central-western region saw less precipitation than other areas.

In Agnibelekro, in the east of the country, rain made the roads leading to the farms too muddy to use, Abou Ouattara, who farms 3 hectares, said by phone today. “We can’t reach the plantations with the small trucks we use to collect the harvest.”

The average temperature for the 15 areas was 31 degrees Celsius (88 Fahrenheit), unchanged from last week, data from CICO Services show.

To contact the reporters on this story: Olivier Monnier in Abidjan at omonnier@bloomberg.net; Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan at bmieu@bloomberg.net

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

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