(Tetum) Farmers in Covalima now have more access to improved varieties of seeds following the launch of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Seeds of Life program in the district last Thursday (19/7).
MAF-SoL’s activities in Covalima will support farmers to produce their own seed in the community so they have sufficient seed to plant and not have to rely on seed distribution from MAF.
In the 30 sucos in Covalima district MAF-SoL aims to establish 60 community seed production groups (CSPGs) to engage in the local production and storage of improved seeds.
“The MAF-SoL program will help increase food security in the Covalima district and also help the government to reduce the amount of seed imported from overseas,” said the MAF District Director Jacinto Godinho.
The expansion of MAF-SoL to all districts supports the SoL program’s goal of improving food security of Timorese farming families by increasing the productivity of major food crops.
SoL Team Leader John Dalton said the program is working with MAF, extension officers and district officers to teach farmers how to produce and store good quality seed.
“The MAF-SoL program will help increase food security in the Covalima district and also help the government to reduce the amount of seed imported from overseas,”
“Farmers are becoming more independent so they don’t have to rely on imported seed, can produce good seed varieties themselves and have seed in hand and ready to plant whenever the planting rain comes,” he said.
MAF Vice Minister Marcos da Cruz said that he hopes all parties can collaborate and work together to achieve the goals of the program.
The MAF-SoL program was launched in Oecusse in April and now covers almost all districts in Timor-Leste following the Covalima launch. The program will launch in Dili’s rural sub-districts in August.
712 community seed production groups across 141 sucos and 140 SEOs are engaged in the local production of community seed of the major food crops officially released by MAF.