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Harsh weather conditions slow global cocoa output

Ivory Coast

Harsh Saharan desert winds are damaging cocoa crops in Cote d’Ivoire, the world’s top-producing country.

The West African country, which harvests two annual crops, will see production fall 12 percent in the smaller second harvest, a Bloomberg survey says.

While there are concerns over how the Harmattan will impact the harvest, people who track the crop development say that the situation is normal.

Cocoa prices tumbled this year as funds cut bets on higher prices. Signs emerged that the crop in Ghana, the second-biggest producer, is recovering from a five-year low.

Ivorian farmers will harvest 454,000 tons of cocoa during the mid-crop harvest.

There’s still some time before the mid-crop harvest begins in April. Bean deliveries to ports are so far beating expectations.

A yearly weather pattern, the Harmattan started earlier than usual this season.

Most of Cote d’Ivoire got 50 percent less rain than normal from early December through to Wednesday. Almost no rain fell in Ghana, forecasters have said.

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