(Tetum) With the maize planting season just around the corner, farming families will soon be choosing which varieties to grow this 2014-15 cropping season.
1. The seed is locally produced
Thousands of farming families are members of MAF-SoL community seed production groups across Timor-Leste that are growing these varieties, storing the seed after harvest so their members have good seed readily available to use the following planting season, including making it available to other farmers in their local community. This seed is not imported and Timorese farmers are using seed they themselves produced, helping their country improve seed and food security.
2. The varieties have a 40% yield advantage over other maize varieties
Farmers can benefit from getting bigger harvests just by using these maize varieties. Sele has been grown in Timor-Leste since 2001 and Noi Mutin since 2007, with both varieties proving to have consistently higher yields in research trials, many on-farm demonstration tests and in feedback from farming families.
“Sele and Noi Mutin are good varieties compared to the local ones. Sele is better because it has large cob and high yields.” (Amelia da Cruz, member of Bilbeu CSPG or community seed production group, Liquica)
“We had a good yield and want others to have the same too, because this variety [Noi Mutin] is really good.” (Egas dos Santos, Chief of St. Antonio CSPG, Liquica)
“Sele is great because it has good production; it has big seeds and big cobs. At the first harvest of Sele, I produced more than one tonne.” (Lino Rui de Andrade, commercial seed producer, Lautem)
3. These varieties are open-pollinated and public domain
Sele and Noi Mutin maize are open-pollinated varieties that have been obtained through traditional plant breeding. Farmers can plant the varieties, harvest the seed and replant the seeds again the following cropping season. The varieties are public domain, meaning that farming families can use the varieties for free, forever. Neither of the varieties are hybrid nor have they been genetically modified.
4. Broad adaption to Timor-Leste’s climate
Both varieties were rigorously tested on research stations across Timor and with farmers for at least five years prior to release. They are well-adapted to the different soil, climatic and weather conditions across all districts, with many farming families reporting good results in all 13 districts. The varieties are further helping to reduce hunger in Timor-Leste.
5. Sweet taste when eaten fresh
Prior to release the varieties were given a thumbs-up for their delicious flavour by hundreds of male and female farmers who participated in blind taste tests of maize varieties. Farmers found the varieties to be tasty and well-suited to the Timorese palate. Sele and Noi Mutin are also known to have a sweet taste when eaten soon after harvest.
6. The maize plants don’t fall over at harvest
At harvest time, the plants are still standing tall, making it easier for farming families to harvest the cobs. This is because the plants are more resistant to strong winds and drought compared with other varieties.
7. Cobs easy to sell when fresh
Farming families can easily sell the maize varieties soon after harvest because of their large cobs, which are greatly valued for their size. Many farmer families are making money by growing and selling the maize seed through the National Seed System for Released Varieties, helping to fund their children’s school fees and buy household necessities.
8. The cobs and kernels are a beautiful, bright colour
Noi Mutin cobs are a vibrant white colour, while Sele corn cobs are a bright yellow colour. Their colours make them a beauty to look at and help spruce up any plate.
Are there other reasons why you love Sele and Noi Mutin maize? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts! Just comment using the form below.
Hear from farmers who’ve grown Sele or Noi Mutin and the results they’ve had:
- Golden opportunity: Selling Sele maize maize creates income for Naroman group in Liquica – September 2014
- Lino the active farmer from Los Palos – July 2014
- Farmer’s story: Olandina da Costa, Chief of women’s CSPG in Liquica district – January 2014
- Three CSPGs share seed with vulnerable families in Liquica – December 2013
- CSPG in Natarbora harvest their first Sele – May 2013
- Sele maize harvest in Los Palos begins – April 2013