Late January and beginning of February saw a fairly long and intense harmattan period. However, as of mid February, the Intertropical Front (ITF) has given signs of a northward retreat, especially obvious on its western flank.
In the first two days of March, the ITF took a very strong northward leap over Ivory Coast and Ghana – a northward move that was also observed, but was much less marked, over Nigeria and Cameroon. While this is expected to be a temporary swing, the more reliable, 10-day average position of the ITF was more northern than average over Ivory Coast and Ghana. Over Nigeria and Cameroon, the markings are of a slower ITF retreat and possibly lingering harmattan pressure in the hinterland cocoa regions.
Impacts on the cocoa trees
Ivory Coast and Ghana
The observed ITF retreat eased conditions for the trees, which limited their need to reduce their canopy through leaf shedding.
Nigeria and Cameroon
The lingering harmattan pressure in the last weeks will lead to a delay in setting and impinge on the potential for the coming months.
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