Ivorian Cocoa Farmers Bemoan Bean Sales Despite Good Weather
(Bloomberg) -- Farmers in top cocoa grower Ivory Coast are generally happy with the weather as the seasonal Harmattan winds are in full swing, but are disappointed with bean sales.
Crops have benefited from showers, although marketing of the main-crop season is very slow, said Yapi Ncho, a grower in Akoupe in the south. While weather conditions have improved in the western town of Duekoue, farmers are concerned by a cash crunch, said Laurent N’Guessan, head of a cooperative.
“Buyers are taking the harvest on credit and issue us receipts with the promise of paying us later,” N’Guessan said.
Other farmers said they’ve been forced to accept less than the farmgate price. Cocoa has piled up in Ivorian warehouses as buyers refused to pay up for beans amid weak demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic, even after chocolate companies agreed to pay a premium for West African supplies.
Harmattan in Ghana
While the dusty Harmattan winds have intensified in the key southwest region and there’s been a lack of rain, previous showers helped to maintain soil moisture, said David Soffo, a farmer in Yakasi-Newtown on the border with Ivory Coast.
The Harmattan and heat are taking a toll on young plants in the Adamawa production area in the north, according to farmer Muhamadu Tanlaka. In the south, effects of the dry season are yet to be felt and light showers fell last week, said Justin Mvondo, who farms in Ngoulemakong.
Farmers around Takum in the southeast are happy with the main-crop harvest, with volumes much bigger than last year, said grower Emajore Mapair. In the southwest, recent rains have improved production prospects and there may not be the usual break between the main-crop and mid-crop seasons, said Sunday Ojetola, who owns plantations in three of the nation’s main growing states.
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