ABIDJAN, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Rain and sun in most of Ivory Coast's biggest cocoa-growing regions last week will improve the size and quality of the main crop in the world's top producer, farmers said.
The harvest for the October-to-March crop is expected to start as early as mid-September and remain abundant until at least December, farmers said on Monday, although more sun is needed in the south.
"This year farmers are expecting a large harvest starting in September because there are lots of pods that will be ripe in three or four weeks," said Amara Kone, who farms in the outer part of the western region of Duekoue.
Farmers reported a good mix of sun and rain in Duekoue, and in the other western regions of Soubre, Gagnoa and Meagui, as well as in the coastal region of Sassandra.
"Sales will start strong in October and the beans will be large," said Lazare Ake, who farms near Soubre, at the heart of the cocoa belt.
"There are still lots of flowers and small pods on the trees," he added. "If the rain is good in September and October the bean quality will be good until the start of next year."
In the center-western region of Daloa, which produces about a quarter of national output, farmers said the plants could use more sun to boost growth.
"This week the sunshine was average. If we have more sun in the coming weeks the crop will be of good quality," said Albert N'Zue, who farms near Daloa.
In the southern regions of Aboisso, Agboville and Tiassale, farmers said weather had been overcast for several weeks.
"The weather is partly cloudy. If it rains a lot there will be diseases. We need lots of sun," said Etienne Yao, who farms near Aboisso.
But there are enough pods on the trees to ensure a sufficient harvest, he said.
(Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Susan Fenton)