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Rains, Floods Imperil Ivory Coast Cocoa

FILE: A man cuts a cocoa pod from a tree on a plantation in Toumodi, Ivory Coast on Oct. 13, 2018.

ABIDJAN — Heavy rain in most of Ivory Coast's main cocoa regions flooded some plantations in lowlands last week, threatening the April-to-September mid-crop, farmers said on Monday

In the southern and western regions of the West African nation, farmers said two consecutive weeks of rainfall had damaged access to plantations, making it difficult to get beans out of the bush.

"The rains were very heavy. We now need enough sunshine because the plantations in the lowlands have been flooded," said Desire Mea, who farms near the western region of Soubre, where 177.3 millimeters fell last week, 120.3 mm above the five-year average.

In the southern region of Agboville, where 157.7 mm fell last week, 95.7 mm above the average, and in the eastern region of Abengourou, which recorded 125.8 mm last week, 70.3 mm above the average, farmers said they feared that beans would rot in the bush as drying conditions have not been good for two weeks.

Farmers added they feared buyers would refuse to buy beans in the coming weeks as the weather was regularly overcast and it was difficult to dry beans properly.

Similar views came from the southern region of Agboville, where rainfall was well above the average last week.

In the centre-western region of Daloa and in the central region of Yamoussoukro, where rains were below average, and in the central region of Bongouanou, where rains were above average, farmers welcomed a drier spell, which would improve growing and drying conditions.

"The rains have slowed and we've had enough sunshine. This will help the cocoa," said Aman Koffi, who farms near Daloa, where 26.8 mm fell last week, 3.6 mm below the average.

Average temperatures ranged from 25.4 to 29.2 degrees Celsius in Ivory Coast last week.