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Ivory Coast rain, sun boost prospects for cocoa main crop

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Abundant rain mixed with sunny spells last week in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa-growing regions boosted prospects for the upcoming main crop in the world's top producer, farmers said on Monday.

[ABIDJAN] Abundant rain mixed with sunny spells last week in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa-growing regions boosted prospects for the upcoming main crop in the world's top producer, farmers said on Monday.

The harvest for the October-to-March crop is expected to start early, in mid-September, and if good weather continues it will last until at least December, farmers said.

Data collected by Reuters shows there was more rain than average in the past 15 days in all cocoa-growing regions except the centre-western regions of Daloa and Bouafle, where there was slightly less.

Temperatures in the same period ranged from 24 to 26 degrees Celsius in most key regions.

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In the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, farmers reported at least three downpours and good sun last week. "The intensity of the rain is very good. It is allowing many flowers and small pods to develop," said Koffi Kouame, who farms near Soubre.

"The soil is very moist right now. With lots of sunshine, the trees will produce many ripe pods in the second half of next month," he said.

In Daloa, which produces about a quarter of national output, farmers reported two downpours and hot weather but said a lack of rain and sun in previous weeks could still diminish the crop.

"We will have beans to harvest until December. But after that (output) will drop because the rain has not been very good," said Raphael Kouadio, who farms near Daloa.

Good growing conditions were reported in the southern regions of Agboville, Divo and Tiassale, the western regions of Gagnoa and Meagui, and the coastal region of Sassandra.

"We will have lots of beans. The trees have done well this year and many pods have grown," said Etienne Yao, who farms near the southern region of Aboisso.

REUTERS