Heavy rainfall and flooding threaten Ivory Coast’s cocoa production

Ivory Coast has been hit by heavy rainfalls in recent weeks which have led to flooding in some of their main cocoa regions. News reports from the past month have shown how the world’s top cocoa producer has been experiencing some heavy and abundant rainfalls, a phenomenon that usually occurs between April and mid-November every year.  However, this year’s downpour may be heavier than expected as some rivers have already broken banks. Farmers fear that this may not only affect the current mid-crop season but could also affect the start of the main crop season from October-to-March.

Cocoa farmers have raised concerns about how they are not able to access their farms and crops due to the flooding caused by the heavy rains. They further bemoaned the likelihood of their cocoa crops being attacked by diseases due to the rains, and how the first beans of the October-to-March main crop season will be damaged.  Speaking to Reuters on Monday, the farmers indicated that more heavy rains could hinder the start of the next main crop season as it would destroy the flowers of cocoa trees, at a time when the April-to-September mid-crop was tailing off with low yields.

“It is not good here, showers come one after the other. Farmers can no longer go to the fields because rivers have broken their banks and there is flooding,” a farmer said.

The mid-crop is an important cocoa harvest season in Ivory Coast. The country produces about 40% of the world’s cocoa. The mid-crop harvest season runs from April to September and could account for at least 30% of Ivory Coast’s annual production. The main crop season runs from October to March and is the largest of the country’s two annual cocoa productions.

Rainfall in the eastern region of Abengourou was recorded to be 206.3 millimetres (mm) which is 153 mm above a five-year average. In that same week, the western region of Soubre recorded 119 mm, 65.7 mm above the average, which is unusually high. The southern region of Agboville experienced 146.2 mm of rainfall which is 87 mm above the average. Nevertheless, farmers in the central regions of Bongouanou and Yamoussoukro remain optimistic towards the main crop season despite the high rainfall that is being recorded.

 

Image: REUTERS

Master

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