Ivory Coast Cocoa Areas Get Less Rain With Harvest Begun

Cocoa-growing areas in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer, got less rain last week with the main harvest under way.

Rainfall averaged 6 millimeters (0.24 inch) a day in 15 cocoa-growing areas from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, down from 11.3 millimeters a day the previous week, according to CICO Services, an agronomy intelligence agency based in Abidjan, the commercial capital. The average temperature was 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), unchanged from the previous week.

“The rain alternates with the sun,” Jean-Philippe Kadio, who owns a plantation of 5 hectares (12 acres) in the eastern town of Agnibilekrou, said by phone yesterday. “It is usually sunny in the morning, and the weather is darker and cooler in the afternoon.”

The rain was distributed west to east across in the country’s cocoa areas last week. The western region of Gagnoa got more rain than other areas, with an average of 8 milimeters a day.

Some farmers started selling their harvest on Oct. 3, Kadio said. The nation produced a record 1.74 million metric tons of cocoa in 2013-14, compared with 1.44 million tons a year earlier, the government said Oct. 1. Production will be 1.8 million tons in the 2014-15 season, a person familiar with the government’s forecast said Sept. 3.

Ivory Coast raised the minimum guaranteed farmgate price last week by 13 percent to 850 CFA francs ($1.62) a kilogram (2.2 pounds) for the main crop of the 2014-15 marketing year that started Oct. 1.

In the country’s western town of Daloa, rain is accompanied by “strong winds,” said Mamadou Doumbia, a farmer who owns a 10-hectare cocoa plantation.

“It rains every other day, and it is light, so we are able to dry the beans that we harvest”, Doumbia said by phone yesterday. “The current weather is fine for cocoa.”

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