(Tetum) MAF-SoL has released 11 food crop varieties over the last five years, and is continuing to find new and different crops. These are five tasty crops that we’re currently researching.
Red rice has been grown in Timor for possibly thousands of years and is used in many cultural ceremonies. In research plots over the last two years, SoL has identified a high-yielding red rice to help farmers grow lots of this tasty rice.
Purple sweet potato
Purple is an unusual colour of sweet potato, but it does sell well. Seeds of Life is testing a wide range of sweet potatoes, some from overseas and some from Timor-Leste. One of these varieties is bright purple and would certainly add colour to any breakfast Initial research results show that the variety is very sought after in the market place and farmers find it nice to eat.
Mung bean is a high-protein food that makes a tasty and nutrient-rich porridge. SoL is testing lots of types of mung beans that are quite different, but well-liked. There are two different types of mung beans: some with shiny seed coats, and some with dull seed coats. In general, shiny seed coated varieties are good for sprouting and dull seed coats are good for porridge. Seeds of Life has two varieties (one shiny and one dull) ready for testing with farmers. Let’s see which one the farmers like.
Red bean soup (koto) is a great addition to any Timorese meal. Red beans are grown in the high hills around Maubisse and generally grown above 1,000 meter elevation. Red beans are full of protein and minerals, making them the ideal diet supplement. Seeds of Life has found acceptable varieties that produce high yields. These will be tested with farmers this year.
Seeds of Life is also promoting winged beans as a great source of nutrition. Winged beans are a wild food in the east of the country and a very minor crop elsewhere. Winged bean has been called the “one stalk supermarket” because practically all the plant is edible. This includes the flowers, leaves, pods and roots. Recent testing is identifying productive winged beans that can provide lots of pods or seeds for better nutrition.