(Tetum) Australian ambassador for Timor-Leste, Peter Doyle, visit a commercial seed producer, Buras Hamutuk, in Lautem last week (7/10) to witness the group’s achievements in the production of high quality commercial seed of improved varieties of maize and peanut.
The ambassador is impressed with the group’s achievement and said the Australian government will continue to support the Timor Leste government through the MAF and the community in general to improve their livelihood.
“This is a really impressive group. This group work hard, they have clear vision of what they are doing, and pay very great attention to detail of what they’re doing.”
“The Australian government is delighted to work with MAF and through the Seeds of Life program contribute to improving the livelihood of Timorese people living in rural areas.”
“I believe that Timorese farmers can produce optimal quality seed, and through this support I believe the farmers will make a great success,” said the Ambassador.
The chief of the group, Lino de Andrade, explained the group’s seed production activities since they were first registered in 2013 by Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries (MAF) Seed Department as commercial seed producer (CSP) of these released varieties of maize (Sele) and peanut (Utamua).
“In 2013-14 cropping season, our group was 15 people. We planted Sele in 5ha and got 5 ton of seed. We sold 3.7 ton for which we earned $5,600.”
“In 2014-15 cropping season, we added 9 members to our group which now has 15 women and 9 men. We planted Sele maize in 10 ha and harvest a total of 18 ton. We are going to sell 12 ton of seed and expect to get $18,000. The rest we will sell for consumption and will earn $3,000. So in total we will earn around $21,000, excluding the costs of production”
“We are really happy with the MAF varieties and the production. We feel the difference. We feel that our life changes. Now, all the group members can save money for their necessities,” said Lino.
“Buras Hamutuk commercial seed group have produced 12 tons of commercial maize seed this year, or more than 80% of the municipality’s seed demand.”
Buddhi Kunwar, MAF-SoL Community & Commercial Seed Advisor, explained that the maize seed produced by Buras Hamutuk will meet a significant proportion of this year’s seed requirement of Lautem municipality.
“Lautem is one of the biggest municipalities in Timor Leste. It therefore needs more seed of maize, rice and peanut in the future. It is estimated that Lautem will need 14 tons of maize seed in the coming crop season.”
“Buras Hamutuk commercial seed group have produced 12 tons of commercial maize seed this year, or more than 80% of the municipality’s seed demand.” said Buddhi.
“In fact, because the group produced a large quantity of commercial maize seed, MAF will send 2 tons to supplement the seed needs of farmers in Covalima where commercial seed production is still developing”.
“CSP across the country can now produce large quantities of high quality commercial seed, so MAF can reduce its seed imports by 80% this year. Next year and into the future MAF will not need to import any seed because each Municipal Seed System and the overall National Seed System have been developed to meet the total seed needs of the country,” said Buddhi.
Each MAF Municipal Office plans and implements seed production, distribution and management of community and commercial seed of improved varieties of maize, rice and peanut to meet the need for these planting materials in the municipality. This also includes 26 community-managed plots that will produce more than half a million cuttings of sweet potato and cassava for farmers to plant this season.
To enable more farm families in rural area to access high quality seeds this coming crop season, MAF-SoL are assisting each MAF Municipal Office to implement seed distribution plan to deliver seed of improved maize, rice and peanut to more than 30,000 households across the country.
“There are 2,225 aldeia in Timor-Leste and the MAF municipal offices plan to deliver seed produced by their CSPs to 2,000 rural aldeia by distributing one 5kg bag of quality commercial maize seed to 15 households in each aldeia who are interested to plant MAF varieties so that they can be benefit from the increased production,”said Buddhi.