Climate & Agriculture
A tropical coastline
Three coastal seasons
Much of the rain comes between May to July. Then there is a dry spell for a couple of months, followed by another shorter rainy season in October and November. The long dry season is from December to April.
Near to the equator, Ivory Coast has a tropical climate with consistently high temperatures all year round.
In the commercial capital of Abidjan on the coast, temperatures usually fall between 22°C and 32°C.
The coastal region has the highest amount of rainfall, receiving 200-300cm on average.
Forest and savannah
In the central forest region of Ivory Coast, it is hot, wet and humid for much of the year. Humidity is also high across the southern part of the savannah.
The northern savannah region is hot and semi-arid, though higher elevations moderate temperatures. Rain generally falls a few days each month (from April to October) averaging around 130cm a year, with temperatures usually 25-29°C, but also reaching 35°C.
Across the savannah in the north, a parching and dusty trade wind known as the harmattan blows from the north-east from December to March.
Other export crops
Fruits such as pineapples and bananas are grown commercially and Ivory Coast is a top producer of shelled cashew nuts.
Ivory Coast relies on its agricultural exports. A fifth of land is cultivated.
The country is a major producer of cocoa beans and coffee, and also of coconuts and rubber.
On the savannah soils to the north, crops such as cotton, rice and yams are cultivated, with rotations (e.g. cotton followed by rice/yams) increasing yields. Other staple foods grown locally include cassava, plantain, sugarcane and corn.
Much of the country’s original forest was cleared for commercial crops in the decades following independence. Unfortunately, this drastic reduction in the rain forests led to damaging soil erosion and a drop in regional rainfall which has affected yields.
In the 1990s, serious efforts were made to stop further deforestation, though the state of conservation efforts remains unclear today.