Ivory Coast Cocoa-Growing Areas Get More Rain That Helped Crops

Jun 10, 2014 8:42 am ET

June 10 (Bloomberg) -- Cocoa-growing areas in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer of the beans, saw abundant rains last week, adding to signs that favorable growing conditions are boosting crop prospects.

Rainfall averaged 13.8 millimeters (0.5 inch) a day in 15 cocoa-growing areas on June 2 to June 6, up from 7.4 millimeters the previous week, according to CICO Services, an agronomy intelligence agency based in Abidjan. Precipitation for all 15 locations combined more than tripled to 1,446 millimeters in the week, from 446 millimeters the previous week.

Growing conditions now 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 who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public.

“The current weather is making farmers in the region very happy,” Arsene Kadio, who cultivates 7 hectares (17 acres) in the eastern town of Niable, said by phone. “It’s very good for cocoa.”

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. Last week, rain was more abundant in the southeastern regions of Aboisso and Abidjan than in other cocoa areas, according to CICO data. The southwestern region of Sassandra saw less precipitation than other regions.

Near the western border with Liberia, in the town of Zouan- Hounien, it was sunny and humid with frequent heavy rain showers, Serges Boya, a farmer cultivating 5 hectares, said by phone. “There are a lot of flowers on the trees, and the pods are growing nicely,” he said.

The average temperature for the 15 areas was 31 degrees Celsius (88 Fahrenheit) compared with 33 degrees the week before, data from CICO Services show.

--With assistance from Pauline Bax in Accra.