La Niña tends to bring dry conditions to East Africa and wet conditions to West Africa. That’s good news for the West African countries of Ivory Coast and Ghana, where above average rainfall could lead to a bumper cocoa harvest in 2020/21.
Ivory Coast, source of nearly half the world’s cocoa, produced 2.13 million tonnes of cocoa beans in 2019/20, slightly lower than the prior year’s output. However, La Niña-induced rainfall is expected to increase the 2020/21 crop potential.
West Africa’s cocoa harvest is spread over several months twice a year. The main crop runs from October-March, while the midseason crop is May-August. Ghana is the world’s No. 2 cocoa producing country, with output of 801,500 tonnes in 2019/20. West Africa in total produces 75% of the world’s cocoa, making the region vital for the global chocolate industry.
During La Niña years, beneficial weather in West Africa aids cocoa production, which is sensitive to precipitation. Variations in the yield of cocoa trees from year to year are affected more by rainfall than by any other climate factor.
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