(Tetum) Healthy people depend on healthy food systems

That was the theme for this year’s World Food Day (16 October), which Seeds of Life participated in by sharing information and selling seed at an event at the Dili Convention Centre.

Minister Sabino speaking with the President and MAF-SoL staff at the Seeds of Life stand

Minister Sabino speaking with the President and MAF-SoL staff at the Seeds of Life stand

MAF-SoL staff spoke with community members, university students and other NGOs about MAF-SoL’s work to improve food security through increased productivity of major food crops.

A special visitor to MAF-SoL’s stand was the Timor-Leste President, Taur Matan Ruak, and the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Mariano Assanami Sabino Lopes, who heard about SoL’s research into local red rice and beans from staff.

They also learned about farmers who work with SoL to produce quality community seed, which is then used by farming families for food production the next season.

Below is one such farmer’s story.

Domingos’ story

Domingos Mendonca is chief of the ‚ÄúElkolbere‚ÄĚ community seed production group (CSPG) in Sahiri village, Aileu district.

Domingos Mendonca has had a lot of success growing MAF-SoL varieties

Domingos Mendonca has had a lot of success growing MAF-SoL varieties

The group was one of the CSPGs who received improved seed varieties from MAF-SoL in 2011.

The group was given 25 kg of Nakroma rice seed and received training on good practices for planting rice.

“We could see that the Nakroma seed was good. After planting and harvest we had good results.

‚ÄúThe results in 2011 were more than the previous year. We were really happy with it,‚ÄĚ he said.

In 2012 the group harvested 2 tons of Nakroma. With the profit from seed sales they bought a new motorbike for the group.

“There are 20 members in the group, and we have 27 hectares of field.

‚ÄúTo help organise our things and arrange member meetings, we bought a motorbike to support our work.‚ÄĚ

The group members are looking forward to planting Nakroma again in 2013-14.

With his individual share of seed sale profits, Domingos was able to build a house and send his children to school.

‚ÄúThe money comes from seed. As long as we are working hard and continue learning to enrich our experience, our seed will grow well and we can earn more.‚ÄĚ