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Farmers weary as lack of rainfall threatens cocoa cultivation in Ivory Coast

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There are fears of a disrupted cocoa season in the world’s largest producer of cocoa, Ivory Coast, as there is yet to be rainfall in most parts of the country’s region majored in the essential product.

Local report says farmers are concerned about a prolonged dry spell which could weigh on the outlook of the April-to-September mid-crop.

The country is in its dry season which runs officially from mid-November to March and there are concerns that the intensity of the seasonal Harmattan dry wind, which blows from the Sahara Desert for a variable period between December and March and can damage crops, has dropped in central regions and been mild in southern regions.

In November, the two biggest cocoa producers, Ivory Coast and West African neighbour, Ghana pushed for higher prices for their farm products under the Living Income Differential (LID) and vowed to charge a premium of $400 per tonne on all cocoa sales, starting with the 2020/21 harvest.

One of the leading farmers in the country, Arsene Goli, farms near the center-western region of Daloa, where 0 millimetres (mm) of rain fell last week, 1.8 mm below the five-year average, said “If there is no rain before the end of this month, the trees will start to lose a lot of leaves and the harvest will be small after that.”

Another farmer, Eric Dally, who farms near Soubre, where 0 mm fell last week, 3.6 mm below the average, said “if the trees don’t receive the rain this month, the yield will drop.”

Uncertainties around climate conditions in Africa have been of devastating effects in most African countries lately. According to climatechampions, large areas of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya are currently in the grip of a severe drought.

For some countries, like NigeriaSudanUganda, and the Central Africa Republic, however, it has been cases of continual rainfall that led to floods that destroyed valuables worth fortunes across the continent.

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Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, TotalEnergies, discuss over gas project

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Discussion on the humanitarian situation in the Cabo Delgado area in Mozambique is ongoing between The head of TotalEnergies and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi.

TotalEnergies’ chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanne had visited the Cabo Delgado area to review the security and humanitarian situation, and Pouyanne had met the Mozambique President during his trip.

The multinational revealed that it has engaged Jean-Christophe Rufin, whom it said was an expert in humanitarian action and human rights, with an independent mission to assess the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province.

Pouyanné said, “since 2021, the situation in Cabo Delgado province has improved significantly, thanks in particular to the support provided by the African countries that committed themselves to restore peace and security.”

“The mission entrusted to Jean-Christophe Rufin should enable Mozambique LNG’s partners to assess whether the current situation allows for a resumption of activities while respecting human rights,” he added.

A force majeure’ was declared in 2021 on TotalEnergies’ Mozambique LNG project, valued at $20 billion, due to regional unrest after an insurgent group linked to Islamic State attacked the northern town of Palma.

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Sierra Leone, Liberia, 2 others, receive $311 million from World Bank for renewables

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Four West and Central African countries are set to receive aid worth $311 million from the World Bank after signing an agreement that would improve renewable energy projects.

The countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, and Chad will receive funds will finance around 106 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity with battery energy and storage systems, and a 41 MW expansion of hydroelectric capacity.

Commenting on the development, Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio, who presided over the signing ceremony on Wednesday, said the deal was the beginning of a revolution in energy supply and access in the respective countries.

“We are paying far more for energy now than we were 18 months ago. Very high and rising energy prices continue to have an adverse impact on other sectors of our economies,” Maada Bio said.

The World Bank’s Director for Regional Integration, Boutheina Guermazi said the project was the first time four countries had been brought together for a regional energy approach.

“It is a continental approach to make sure that we reach universal access to clean affordable energy by 2030,” Guermazi said, adding that the project would be completed in four years.

The West and Central sub-regions of Africa have one of the lowest electrification rates coupled with some of the highest electricity costs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Under a new World Bank Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project, the West Africa Power Pool, a regional approach to improve electricity in the sub-region, will also receive some funds approved in December.

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