No rain fell last week in most cocoa regions of Ivory Coast for the second week in a row, farmers said, raising fears of a prolonged drought that could affect crop prospects from mid-April to September.
Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, is in its dry season which officially runs from mid-November to March.
Farmers across the country said the intensity of the dry Harmattan monsoon, which blows from the Sahara Desert for variable periods between December and March and can damage crops, has decreased in the central regions and has been mild in the southern regions.
Lack of moisture in January threatens production
The farmers said the main crop was declining as the main harvest was completed, and if the lack of moisture persists until late January, the grain will be of poor quality in February and March, and very narrow in April and May.
Where millimeters of rain fell last week, 1.8 millimeters less than the five-year average, said Arsene Guli, who farms near the west-central region of Daloa.
Similar sentiments were reported in the central regions of Bongoano and Yamoussoukro, where there was no rain last week.
In the western region of Sobre, and in the southern regions of Agboville and Diffou, where it did not rain last week, farmers said that the cocoa trees are surviving because of the good moisture content of the soil at the moment.
The farmers said the prolonged dry period could damage many of the flowers and cherry trees currently on the trees and affect the average crop.
“If it doesn’t rain this month, the yields will go down,” said Eric Daly, who farms near Soubry, where 0mm fell last week, 3.6mm below average.
Average temperatures ranged between 25.5 and 27.4 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.
current production ratios
The number of cocoa arrivals to the ports of Ivory Coast, the largest number of the producing countries, reached 1.346 million tons by the eighth of January since the start of the season on the first of October, an increase of 11.6% over the same period last season, according to the estimates of the exporters, as about 44 thousand tons were delivered from Grain to the port of Abidjan and 43,000 tons to San Pedro totaling 87,000 tons, down from 99,000 tons in the same week last season.
Figures released by the Ghana Cocoa Regulator showed that cocoa graded, dudtakh inspected and sealed in Ghana reached 350,000 tonnes ready for shipment by Dec. 15 since the start of this year’s crop on Oct. 1, up 76 percent from 199,000 tonnes in the same period the previous season. Cocoa production in Ghana is expected to reach 750,000 tons this season.