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Ivory Coast's abundant rains help cocoa main crop

ABIDJAN, July 2 (Reuters) – More abundant rainfall and sunny spells last week in Ivory Coast’s cocoa growing regions bode well for the October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.

Focus in the world’s top cocoa grower has shifted from the April-to-September mid-crop to the main crop in recent days, and farmers said flowers had started to appear on the trees.

“It continues to rain well and the flowering looks good,” said Amadou Diallo, who farms in the southern region of Divo. “The soil is wet. If the heat does not fail us, we will have many pods on the trees by September.”

Data collected by Reuters showed that rainfall last week in Divo was at 49.7 millimetres (mm), 16.6 mm above the five-year average.

In the centre-western region of Daloa, which produces a quarter of Ivory Coast’s output, farmers said they were expecting harvesting to start by mid-September.

“There are many small pods on the trees that will be cut in the middle of September,” said Albert N’Zue, who farms on the outskirts of Daloa. “We need at least a good rain a week until August so there is an abundant harvest.”

Rainfall last week in Daloa, including the region of Bouafle, was at 49.2 mm, 23.5 mm above the five-year average.

In the western region of Soubre, in the heart of the cocoa belt, there was 43 mm of rainfall, 0.5 mm below the five-year average. Farmers there were also positive about the coming main crop.

Farmers reported good flowering in other cocoa regions. In the southeastern region of Aboisso, rainfall was at 87.3 mm last week, 40.1 mm above average.

In the western region of Man, rainfall was at 37.8 mm, 8.5 mm above average. In the central region of Yamoussoukro, rainfall was at 55.6 mm, 30.4 mm above average.

In southern region of Agboville, 83.1 mm of rain fell, 35.3 mm above average.

The temperature in cocoa regions ranged from 26.9 degrees Celsius to 24.3 degrees last week. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly Editing by Edward McAllister and David Evans)