Reuters reports that Ivorian farmers have expressed concern about the heavier-than-average rains that have recently hit Cocoa-growing regions in Côte d’Ivoire. The West African country is the world’s largest Cocoa producer and is currently in the rainy season, with heavy rainfall between April and mid-November.

But last week, conditions were reportedly wetter than usual, leading some farmers to worry that this could lead to disease and possibly damage the first batch of beans for the main October-March harvest.

Farmers from Soubre and Man in the west were especially worried that the high moisture level in the soil could trigger black pod disease, which could be disastrous for Cocoa crops.

It has rained too much. We do not need this amount of water now. It can bring black pod disease.

Alfred Koua, local farmer in Soubre

The additional rain is also making the process of drying the beans more difficult. Soubre experienced 276.4mm of rain last week, 258.7mm above the five-year average.

Farmers from Agboville in the south and Abengourou in the east experience the opposite as the growing conditions in the regions remain good even with the excessive rainfall.

Similarly, in the central regions of Daloa, Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, farmers are optimistic about bountiful first harvests. In Daloa, 37.7mm of rain fell last week, 8.2mm above the average.

Rains are good and there will be many harvests between November and January.

Paul N’Guessan, local farmer near Daloa (source: Reuters)

Although many farmers said that the modest main harvest had already begun, most were reluctant to sell at this time, preferring instead to wait until October when they expect the government to announce a higher market price.

The market price is currently set at 850 CFA francs (circa US$1.30) per kg of Cocoa beans. Buyers are reportedly offering just 750 CFA francs (circa US$1.15) per kg at this time, however.

Photo from NPR.org

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