Ivory Coast Drought Pressures Big Cocoa Crop

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Heavy June rains brought relief to Ivory Coast cocoa-growing regions after an unseasonable dry spell in May, but moderate drought persists in the world’s No. 1 cocoa producer, as seen via the Gro Drought Index. Unless ideal growing conditions occur through the summer months, the cocoa harvest will be impacted. 

Weather conditions in the July-September period will have the greatest bearing on Ivory Coast’s main cocoa crop, as shown by a Gro analysis of past growing seasons. Poor production in 2015, for example, came after an especially dry summer, including September rainfall that was 40% below the previous decade’s average. 

By contrast, high rainfall preceding the October start to harvest correlates with strong production. In 2017, 2018, and 2019, September rainfall was 12%-14% above average, while the July-September periods had rainfall more than 10% above average. 

Precipitation levels in October appeared to have less impact on eventual production. 

As shown in Gro’s Climate Risk Navigator app, the Gro Drought Index (GDI) for Ivory Coast, seen at bottom right of the display, is currently reading 2.2, indicating “moderate” drought, and the highest reading in a decade for this time of year. GDI, which can also be weighted for individual crops, shows Ivory Coast’s cocoa-growing regions with a drought-index reading of 1.8, which is “abnormally dry.”  

Ivory Coast experienced its driest May since 2002. And temperatures in cocoa-growing regions are still at some of the highest levels since 2000, as shown at top right of the Gro Climate Risk Navigator app weather display.  

As we move closer to the October main crop harvest, Gro users can track Ivory Coast growing conditions with the Climate Risk Navigator app for insight into 2021/22 production. For the 2020/21 marketing year, which ends in September, Ivory Coast is estimated to produce 2.225 million tonnes of cocoa, up 6% from the previous year, according to ICCO figures. And global cocoa stocks are projected to be up nearly 9% in 2020/21. 

This insight was powered by the Gro platform, which enables better and faster decisions about factors affecting the entire global agricultural ecosystem. Gro organizes over 40,000 datasets from sources around the world into a unified ontology, which allows users to derive valuable insights such as this one. You can explore the data available on Gro with a free account, or please get in touch if you would like to learn more about a specific crop, region, or business issue.

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