Major West African cocoa origins seem to have dodged what some had thought would be a harsher Harmattan season; instead, Ivory Coast and Ghana have seen the sort of mix of sunshine and rains that typically supports higher bean production. In this case, 2018/19 midcrop bean production and quality should benefit. Rains support flowering, pod set, bean development, and overall tree health, while sunnier spells limit potential pest damage and make for better conditions for harvesting, processing, and transporting beans.

Though less likely at this time of year, very heavy rains may instead damage flowers and pods, as was reported by some growers last July.

Through Jan. 20, cumulative arrivals of cocoa beans at major Ivorian ports totaled an estimated 1.24 MMT, up nearly 9 percent from arrivals a year ago of 1.14 MMT. Based on official figures through December, actual arrivals could be higher, however.

West Africa 30-day precipitation, percent of normal

Source: NOAA
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