Hear directly from three farmers about their experiences growing the improved peanut and cassava varieties and the difference it is making to their lives.
Naroman Vida community seed production group
Location: Kuluhun aldeia, Fuiloro village, Los Palos sub-district, Lautem district
Year established: 2012
Number of members: 14 (4 women, 10 men)
Crop: Utamua peanut
Group chief Celestino dos Santos:
“In the past, we planted using traditional techniques but had poor yields. After we received training from the MAF extension officer, we changed our planting practices and now we have good yields.
“We were happy with the training we received about planting Utamua because we learned about the planting at 20 x 25cm distances, crop maintenance, how to build a water channel to avoid flooding, and how to use manure.
“Last harvest we got 25kg from a planting area of 5 x 40m. We’re thankful with the support provided by the SEO – it’s been a huge help in guiding our group.”
Caiua community seed production group
Location: Macadai aldeia, Triloca village, Baucau sub-district, Baucau district
Year established: 2013
Number of members: 10 (2 women, 8 men)
Crop: Utamua peanut
Group chief Alexandre da Costa:
“I was the former chief of Triloca village. I wanted to organise and be involved in a farmer group to show how we can be successful in farming and how we can work together to become an example for other farmers.
“Our group began in 2013. We first planted 10kg of Utamua peanut seed that we received from an extension officer and successfully got 70kg harvest from 50 m2.
“We were guided by the SEO at planting time. He provided us with useful knowledge about growing and harvesting Utamua. Previously we just planted crops by ourselves with no technical knowledge, so we got low crop yields.
“The farming families in our group are really happy with Utamua because it has big seed and the yields are better than other varieties.
“After harvest we store seed for replanting, use some for household consumption and sell surplus seed to cover school fees in order to prepare our next generation for the future of Timor-Leste.”
Location: Bandeira Hun aldeia, Liurai village, Aileu Vila sub-district, Aileu district
Crops: Ai-Luka 1, 2 and 4 cassava
Individual farmer Veneranda Mendonça:
“My husband and I have been growing the Ai-Luka 2 and 4 varieties since 2006, but we recently started growing the Ai-Luka 1 bitter cassava variety also.
“I heard about the Ai-Luka improved varieties from the Seeds of Life program, which I’m happy about because I’m interested in trialing new varieties.
“When growing cassava, I’m careful with planting them with a one-metre spacing. If we plant too close to each other it will cause competition for the soil nutrients and result in small tubers.
“I only plant a small amount of cassava in my field so after harvest I keep the cassava for home consumption instead of selling it. My family eat it for breakfast every day and in the afternoon we boil and bake it.
“Whenever our relatives visit us, we serve them this variety and like to hear what they think. My family really enjoys the taste because Ai-Luka 2 and 4 are sweeter and more aromatic than local varieties.”