ABIDJAN - Heavy rain in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions last week will spur growth of the April-to-September mid-crop but could cause mouldy beans, farmers said on Monday.
Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer, is in its rainy season which runs from April to mid-November.
Farmers across the country said the mid-crop harvest was picking up, with lots of beans leaving plantations.
However, heavy rain and overcast weather in the western region of Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt, and in the southern region of Agboville are making it difficult to properly dry the beans, farmers said.
"Drying time is becoming very long. There is a risk of having mouldy beans in our deliveries in the coming weeks," said Jean Bouadou, who farms near Soubre, where 67.8 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 35.3 mm above the five-year average.
In the eastern region of Abengourou and the southern region of Divo, where rains were also well above the average, farmers said growing conditions were excellent and they expected a plentiful mid-crop harvest.
In the centre-western region of Daloa, where rains were above average, and in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro, where rains were below average, farmers said trees looked good, with many large ripening pods.
"If it continues to rain, the mid-crop will not end abruptly," said Moustapha Sanon, who farms near Daloa, where 28.4 mm of rain fell last week, 5.4 mm above the average.
Average temperatures ranged from 27 to 30.5 degrees Celsius last week.
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Jan Harvey)