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Concerns rise as weather conditions threaten Ivory Coast’s cocoa production



Heat wave concerns are beginning to cause worry in the heartland of Ivory Coast, the world’s leading cocoa producer after rain hasn’t fallen as expected.

Reports from farmers across the main cocoa regions paint a bleak picture of the weather’s impact on the upcoming mid-crop season.

The usual abundance of rain during the rainy season, which officially stretches from April to mid-November, has been conspicuously absent, replaced by a relentless onslaught of strong sun and rising temperatures.

The lack of rainfall and the intense heat have left the soil parched and devoid of moisture, raising concerns among farmers about the development of small pods and cherelles crucial for the mid-August harvest.

The situation is particularly dire in regions like Daloa, where farmers lament the meager 8.6 millimeters of rain received last week, significantly below the five-year average of 12 mm.

Similar conditions have been reported in Yamoussoukro, Agboville, Divo, and Abengourou, exacerbating anxieties about the impending cocoa yield.

As the marketing season for the mid-crop approaches in early April, farmers are closely monitoring the situation, with many opting to retain their beans in anticipation of a potential hike in farmgate prices.

Speculations abound about a potential increase to 1,500 CFA francs ($2.48) per kilogram, up from the current rate of 1,000 CFA, reflecting the farmers’ cautious optimism amidst the challenging weather conditions.

While some relief was observed in regions like Bongouanou and Soubre, where rainfall slightly exceeded averages, farmers remain dissatisfied with the overall inadequacy of precipitation to stimulate cocoa growth.

In the face of these adversities, Ivory Coast’s cocoa industry stands at a critical juncture, grappling with the delicate balance between weather unpredictability and the livelihoods of countless farmers dependent on cocoa cultivation.

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As the nation navigates through these turbulent weather patterns, the resilience and adaptability of its agricultural sector will be put to the test, underscoring the imperative of sustainable practices and proactive measures to safeguard the future of cocoa production in the region.

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