Achievements from the 2013-14 Annual Report

By the end of May 2014 the Seeds of Life 3 (SoL3) project was well into its first year of transition to full management by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), scheduled for completion by the end of July 2016. Trials at research centres during the last wet season and the previous dry season identified a number of promising varieties for further evaluation on farmers’ fields under farmer conditions. To ensure sufficient high-quality seed is available, Government district seed officers have contracted seed growers in six districts to produce seed (and planting materials) of maize, rice, peanut, cassava and sweetpotato. They produced approximately 26.6 tonnes of rice, 42 tonnes of maize and 8 tonnes of peanuts, and distributed 368,000 sweetpotato cuttings and 136,000 cassava cuttings.

A project using a whole-of-chain approach is designed to shift smallholder beef farmers from being mostly livestock keepers to becoming producers with better market access. This is the first stage of a 10-year program. The program has a strong element of capacity building for local scientists, and has employed three women and three men who are recent Agricultural Science graduates from the University of Timor-Leste (UNTL). All six were initially based in Dili; after receiving training and support infrastructure, five have now been deployed to research sites.

Timor-Leste has potential to improve its fisheries production, and a project commissioned through WorldFish has developed a National Plan for Aquaculture to map the country’s fisheries and aquaculture potential. The project is initially working with ‘community clusters’ involving five fishing communities on Atauro Island and two communities in Bobonaro, with the intention of using its findings to extend to other communities as appropriate.