Timor Leste

A-maize-ing Results: “My Family is Better off All Around”

At the close of this program in Timor Leste’s Viqueque region, Manuel says his family is better off all around. “We don’t have to buy as much in the market so it’s a saving for us. And, a few months ago, I sold some of my harvest and earned enough to cover my family’s basic needs. I also bought some equipment to improve and expand my planting area,” he says.

Another farmer, who only used to be able to grow enough for five months, says, “Nearly a year after harvest, we still have food.”

Manuel says he is getting greater yields of improved-quality maize and has learned to dry it and protect it from pests and mold by storing it in airtight containers like water bottles. Besides maize and rice, he plants a wider variety of foods – beans, taro root, cassava, papaya – for better nutrition.

According to the program’s final report, all of the farmers who took part in the training are using one or more of the environmentally-friendly farming techniques they learned.  At the start of the program, maize yielded around 1,036 pounds per hectare (2.5 acres). Everyone met or exceeded the target of 1,343 lbs./hectare, some harvesting as much as 2,320. And, by drying and storing maize in airtight containers – instead of hanging it in unprotected sheaves outdoors – their losses to mold and pests are minimal.

Local partner staff and extension workers from the Ministry of Agriculture live and farm in the same villages as program participants, and will continue to model improved farming and storage techniques on their own land. The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to assist farmers with seed, training, moisture testing and new ideas.

Caption: Manuel’s great results from improved seed and environmentally-friendly farming

Timor Leste Viqueque Program
Led by Catholic Relief Services and Local Partner Fraterna
5 communities, 380 households, 3,268 individuals


03/02/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Reflecting on the 1st year shows progress in Timor Leste

Participants from FRB’s Timor Leste-Viqueque program recently reviewed their first-year progress and gave feedback on program strengths and weaknesses during a “beneficiary accountability” meeting. They expressed gratitude for updates from program staff on project goals and objectives and for the chance to weigh in, stating that it was the first time any programming organization had taken the time to report back to them or ask them their opinions.

01/06/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Importance of Community Participation in Reducing Post-Harvest Loss

Nicolao, a farmer in the Timor Leste - Viqueque program, lives with his wife Martinha and their two children. Each year he prepares his soil and plants maize, just like the other farmers in this remote and rural part of the country. Maize is the staple grain for most families here, and Nicolao depends on a good harvest so his family can have enough to eat throughout the year.

Nicolao plants what seeds are available to him, which are not the improved varieties, so he often has low yields when it is time to harvest.  After harvest he stores the grain as best he can, but he still loses between 25% and 30% of his crop each year to mold, rodents, and weevils.  There just is never enough to last throughout the year. Some of his neighbors sell their maize right after harvest. Although the prices are low, they at least receive something for their work instead of watching it rot, or be eaten by rodents.

01/21/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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