Côte d’Ivoire went into the dry season full of optimism as the rains had been generous to them. But like the earth supporting the cocoa plants, the good feelings have all but dried up.

Climate42 offers a useful sentiment meter that indicates how much positivity there is around West African Cocoa production, and currently, the meter has swung decidedly into the red.

It’s not just Côte d’Ivoire, but Nigeria and Cameroon are also bracing themselves for a difficult season ahead as this year’s Harmattan has been unforgiving.

A substantial rainfall is now needed across the region if April’s mid crop is to have a chance to produce a good harvest. Currently, that is looking unlikely. The price of Cocoa is up slightly, although not as much as we might expect, and this might be due to external geopolitical factors.

Reuters interviewed a farmer who said:

It is getting hotter and hotter. If there are no good rains quickly, the mid-crop will start late

Jules Atopka, who farms near Bongouanou.

It won’t just be a late start, however, but without rain soon, the bean size will not develop, and the quality of the crop will suffer, negatively impacting prices.

Meanwhile, the main Cocoa growing region of Soubre saw no rainfall last week, and average daytime temperatures were between 27.7 and 32.1C last week.

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