1. In conjunction with MAF, we have released nine new varieties of five staple food crops to date:
MAIZE – Suwan 5 and Sele
RICE – Nakroma
PEANUT – Utamua
SWEET POTATO – Hohrae 1, Hohrae 2 and Hohrae 3
CASSAVA – Ai-luka 2 and Ai-luka 4
These varieties underwent stringent research, including farmer testing, prior to their release. This active process continues, with SoL having imported and tested 210 prospective varieties since 2000.
2. Over 2,500 participating households have grown at least one of the seven new varieties of four staple food crops: maize, rice, peanut or sweet potato. They have experienced yield increases ranging from 23 to 80%, and seven out of ten farmers actively replanted at the first opportunity. Many of the other farmers would have replanted but did not have planting material.
3. During the 2008-2009 wet season we distributed 6.8 ton of rice, 14.7 ton of maize, 3.9 ton of peanuts and approximately 27,000 sweet potato cuttings to nearly 12,000 farmers.
4. Seeds of Life has been directly responsible for food productivity improvements in 26% (114) of East Timor’s 442 sucos (villages), spread across seven districts. This represents 73% of the sucos in the seven districts where SoL has installed trials.
5. Farmers appreciate the taste of most of the new varieties. In particular Hohrae sweet potato and Nakroma rice are very highly regarded. Sele maize is very popular with farmers who are used to eating yellow maize, and Utamua peanut is prized for its large seed size.
6. We completed the rehabilitation of the MAF Betano Research Station in Manufahi district in 2007. The rehabilitation of the Loes Research Station in Liquiça is almost complete, and preliminary work on the Darasula Research Station site in Baucau is underway.
7. We are committed to building capacity within East Timor’s agriculture sector, and our Timorese staff participate in a wide range of formal training courses totalling in excess of 1,000 ‘people training days’ each year. Competency in areas including planning research activities, working with farmers, presenting research results, testing seed and using computers for statistical analysis is improving over time.