Above-average rain in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions last week will improve the size and quality of the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday.

The world's top cocoa producer is in the midst of a rainy season that runs from April to mid-November, when downpours are abundant and heavy.

But the month of April was hotter and drier than usual this year, raising concern about the mid-crop yields.

Many farmers said downpours that intensified over the past week would increase the quality of small- and average-sized cocoa pods due to be harvested over the next three months.

"If the rain continues there will be a lot of cocoa and quality will improve," said N’Guettia Francois, who farms near the central region of Bongouanou, where 50 millimetres (mm) fell last week, 26.6 mm above the five-year average.

Similar observations were made in the central region of Yamoussoukro and in the centre-western region of Daloa, where rains were also above average.

In the western region of Soubre, farmers said harvesting would begin next week as many pods were ripening on trees. They expected to sell plenty of dried beans from June and July onwards.

"From next week there will be a lot of picking in the bush," said Gbale Kodia, who farms near Soubre, where 31.2 mm fell last week, 9.2 mm above the five-year average.

Farmers made similar comments in the southern regions of Agboville and Divo and in the eastern region of Abengourou, where rains were also above average.

Most farmers said the mid-crop would be stronger than last year's from August to September if downpours continued, as many flowers and cherelles were blooming on tress.

Weekly average temperatures ranged between 27.3 and 30.9 degrees Celsius.

(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly, Editing by Sofia Christensen and Edmund Blair)