(Tetum) ‚Äú[Seeds of Life] has made a solid contribution to improving agricultural productivity in Timor-Leste‚ÄĚ, says the Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) at Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

“better seeds = higher yields = more food security”

In a report titled Evaluation of Australian Aid to Timor-Leste released June, 2014, reviewing the effectiveness of Australian Government-funded projects in Timor-Leste, MAF-SoL‚Äôs contribution to food security is applauded. ¬†Outlining the overall achievements and challenges faced by Australian-funded development projects, the ongoing positive performance of MAF-SoL shines strong. ODE writes: ‚ÄúSeeds of Life (SoL) has a simple, logical agronomic focus that is linked to a tangible developmental outcome (better seeds = higher yields = more food security). SoL has never lost sight of its original focus on seeds, which is simple and indisputable from an agronomic perspective‚ÄĚ.

The report emphasises the important collaboration between the Australian-funded project and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) in Timor-Leste; ‚ÄúSoL staff work closely with ministry senior staff to improve various organisational and human resources issues, including strategic planning. These activities are valued by ministry senior staff who reported significant improvements in organisational capability over time‚ÄĚ.

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Link to ODE report. Image © Conor Ashleigh

Since its beginnings in 2000, MAF-SoL has always placed importance on its integration and acceptance within the Timor-Leste agricultural sector. This aspect of the project is particularly praised within the report; ‚ÄúThe involvement of farmers in on-farm trails and the participatory ranking of improved varieties have resulted in high levels of local acceptance, replanting and adoption‚ÄĚ.

Overall, the progress being made by Australian-funded initiatives is recognised and congratulated within the effectiveness evaluation. Australia’s volunteer contribution is also praised; since 2010, MAF-SoL has hosted five Austraining volunteers, ranging from training advisors to communication professionals.

Read the full report.