Arrivals of cocoa in the world’s top producer, Ivory Coast’s main ports of Abidjan and San Pedro have fallen since the beginning of the year due to unpredictable and insufficient rainfall, exporters and farmers said on Thursday.
According to exporters’ estimates, weekly port arrivals declined to roughly 70,000 tonnes from around 115,000 tonnes in November and December of last year.
Total arrivals since the season began on October 1 have reached 1.540 million tonnes as of Jan. 29.
“The drop is drastic and sudden. We were very high in December and suddenly everything collapsed in January,” explained the director of an Abidjan-based cocoa export company.
According to exporters, farmers, and purchasers, the decline in bean arrivals is projected to endure through the end of the main harvest in February and March, and may extend into the first two months of the mid-crop harvest in April and May if rains do not arrive more regularly.
To dry the beans, cocoa production necessitates strong rainfall and sunny spells. However, the West and Central African region is in the midst of its dry season, which lasts from mid-November to March.
Some farmers have only been able to harvest half of an 80 kg (176.37 lb) jute bag in two weeks, compared to an average of 8 bags each week from October to December.
To save money, cocoa bean buyers and middlemen have opted to temporarily close businesses and park their trucks. The primary cocoa crop harvest in Ivory Coast occurs from October to March, while the smaller mid-crop harvest occurs from April to September.
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