(Tetun) Farming families in rural areas can now easily access good quality seed of improved varieties released by Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and Seeds of Life (SoL) before it is required for planting at the onset of the cropping season.
Through the assistance of MAF-SoL there are now sixteen agriculture shops (loja agrikultura) currently operating in all municipalities. These shops will sell maize, rice and peanut seeds produced by officially registered commercial seed producers (CSP) operating in each municipality. Loja also sell vegetable seeds and other agriculture inputs.
Leoneto Hornay, the National Coordinator for Community Seed Production said “it is one of the ways to answer some of farmers’ concerns on the availability of good quality seeds before planting time”.
“The presence of agriculture shop in each municipality means the rural community will have better access to good quality seed. They don’t have to travel to Dili to look for seeds”
Leoneto also noted that the establishment of agriculture shops in the different municipalities is part of the effort to create market for the local farmers and commercial seed producers (CSP).
The establishment of agriculture shops in the different municipalities is part of the effort to create market for the local farmers and commercial seed producers.
Around 58 commercial seed producers are now operating in the various municipalities across the country. They produce commercial seeds of maize (Sele and Noi Mutin), rice (Nakroma) and peanut (Utamua), which they sell in bags that must carry the Fini Ba Moris brand of good quality.
Packets of commercial seed must also bear the particular brand of the CSP that produced it and a “pink label” showing the type and variety of seed, its physical purity, moisture content and germination percentage.
“I’m happy I can also sell seed produced locally by our farmers. I sold 150 kg of Sele and Noi Mutin maize seed and many farmers purchased it,” said Teregina Goncalves, the owner of Unilabe agriculture shop in Maliana sub-district of Bobonaro municipality.
“Farmers are happy because they can get the seed before planting season. Some farmers have come back and said they like the seed because when they plant it grows well and they get good production too.”
“Next time, we will again purchase these seed from the same commercial seed producers because many people buy the seed and happy with the results”. Agriculture shop owners were also informed about the importance of good storage of seeds. In the near future, SoL plans to organize marketing training for agriculture shop owners in collaboration with Mercy Corps.