Reuters reported soil moisture compensated for dry sunny weather in most of the country’s cocoa-growing regions last week, boosting the upcoming harvests of the October-to-March main crop.
Farmers said the bulk of harvesting is expected to leave areas in December but warned that more rain would be needed to prevent beans from becoming acidic from January.
Theodore Asse, who farms near the western region of Soubre where 8.9 millimetres fell last week, 6.5 mm below the five-year average, told local media: "We do not have a problem with dry [weather] that could endanger production,"
Farmers made similar observations in the southern region Agboville and the eastern region of Abengourou, where rainfall was above average, and in the southern region of Divo, where rains were below average, Reuters reported.
Black pod disease in Nigeria hits output
In neighbouring Nigeria, excessive rains have hit the production of its main crop after the spread of black pod disease in the main growing areas of the country.
The Cocoa Association of Nigeria has indicated that the country’s 2021-2022 cocoa production is expected to be down by 15%.
Mufutau Abolarinwa, the National President of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, told BusinessDay the season was delayed by two weeks, and a scramble for quality cocoa beans has pushed the prices of the commodity higher as floods ravaged farmlands in Taraba and Cross River states.
“Lots of cocoa were affected by the black pod disease owing to the excessive rains in major producing states and the flood incidents. The impact is quite huge and we see output for the season declining by at least 15%,” he said.
According to the Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, black pod, a fungi disease, thrives in wet conditions on cocoa farms due to incessant rains without adequate sunshine.
The farm gate prices of cocoa, Nigeria’s flagship export produce, have surged by 77% this year.
Nigeria is the world’s fourth top grower of cocoa with 250,000MT, ICCO said in its third quarter bulleting, and a 15% decline means the output will dip by 37,500MT.
Cocoa prices on Monday closed higher, with NY cocoa posting a 1-week high and London cocoa climbing to a 6-year nearest-futures high. A stronger dollar Monday limited gains in NY cocoa.
A bullish factor for cocoa prices was Monday's news that Ivory Coast farmers sent a cumulative 707,200 MT of cocoa to Ivory Coast ports for the 2022/23 marketing year from October 1 through November 27, down -2.6% y/y, barchart.com reported.
March ICE NY cocoa (CCH23) on Monday closed up +1 (+0.04%), and December ICE London cocoa #7 (CAZ22) closed up +28 (+1.34%).
Last Friday's weekly Commitment of Traders (COT) report showed funds boosted their net-long London cocoa positions by 1,122 to a 3-year high of 75,683 long positions in the week ended 15 November.