Ivory Coast Striving to Improve Cocoa Yield in Face of Weather Extremes

Abou Ouattara has grown cocoa for the last 17 years, but luckily the 52-year-old does not have a sweet tooth.

"I grow cocoa to provide for my family and only eat chocolate to have a taste," said Ouattara, walking around his farm in Ouattaradougou village, around 30 km (18.6 miles) east of Ivory Coast's commercial capital, Abidjan.

"I cannot afford to buy a lot of chocolate because I have a big family and that comes first," he added, noting a small box of chocolate can cost up to 800 CFA francs ($1.39).

Cocoa production is a key source of income for many smallholder farmers in Ivory Coast, who plant on average 1 to 3 hectares (2.5 to 7.4 acres).

But their production has slumped over the years as a result of poor yields blamed on extreme weather, weak global prices and low-quality cocoa.

http://news.trust.org/item/20160614070320-t21eb

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