ABIDJAN - A mix of above-average rainfall and sunshine in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa-growing regions last week is expected to boost yields as harvests pick up for the October-to-March main crop, farmers said on Monday.
The world's top cocoa producer is nearing the end of its rainy season, which runs from April to mid-November.
Several farmers across the country said harvests were picking up and that plenty of beans had started leaving the bush.
Many trees had well-formed pods that will be harvested in January, they added.
This rainy season's last downpours, broken up with sunny spells, will help boost small pods for February and March harvests.
"Everywhere, farmers in villages are drying many cocoa beans. The quality is good because of the sun," said Arsene Tano, who farms near the central region of Yamoussoukro, where 68.8 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 46.5 mm above the five-year average.
Rains were also above-average in the centre-western region of Daloa, the central region of Bongouanou, the eastern region Abengourou, and in the southern regions of Divo and Agboville.
Only the western region of Soubre saw below-average rainfall.
"More and more pods are ripening. Crop yields are very good," said Lazare Effi who farms near Abengourou, where 47.6 mm fell last week, 15.8 mm above the average.
Average temperatures ranged between 26 to 28 degrees Celsius last week.
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly Editing by Sofia Christensen, Kirsten Donovan)