(Tetum) Lino Rui de Andrade (36) is a maize farmer living with his wife, Atina, and their three children in aldeia Nakroma, suco Fuiloro, sub-district  Lospalos, district Lautem.

Lino is an active farmer, and registered commercial seed producer, who implements good agriculture practices developed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and Seeds of Life (SoL).  He became involved in commercial seed production in 2013, having started growing seed crops in 2011.

“Sele is great because it has good production; it has big seeds and big cobs”

Lino uses silos for grain storage, grows MAF-SoL varieties of Sele, Noi Mutin maize and Utamua peanut, monitors a MAF-SoL weather station, has improved his fencing, and intercrops velvet bean that fertilises the soil and prevent weeds. These initiatives are a result of MAF-SoL’s ongoing approach to assist farming communities in a myriad of improved agriculture practices.

Lino, Atina and Family

Lino, Atina and their family all benefit from growing MAF-SoL released varieties of maize and peanut.
© Alexia Skok/Seeds of Life

Lino began growing Sele, a MAF-SoL released maize variety, in his 1.4-hectare field after receiving 25kg of seed from MAF-SoL extensionist staff. He is extremely satisfied with his crop production; ¬†‚ÄúSele is great because it has good production; it has big seeds and big cobs. At the first harvest of Sele, I produced more than one tonne. I sell it to NGOs and have earned, to date,¬† $2,100. Some of the yield I sell to neighbours, I also keep some for home consumption‚ÄĚ.

Lino-1-2

Lino with his powered maize grinder used for making polenta.
© Alexia Skok/Seeds of Life

In total, Lino has earned $ 2,100 from selling the seed, grain, grit and flour over several cropping seasons to NGOs, local markets and Dili customers. The money received from selling maize-products is used to purchase house necessities and items to support his work as a farmer, including two air-tight silos that could store seed up to 1.7 tonnes per silo, and a maize grinder. ‚ÄúI bought the airtight silos for Sele. They have rubber bands to keep the grain airtight and to ensure the Sele remains clean, shiny, and free of weevils and other insects.‚ÄĚ

Always the entrepreneur, Lino rents out his grinder as a means of generating more income; ‚ÄúWhen I‚Äôm not using my maize grinder, I rent it to my neighbours so they can grind their harvested grain. They pay me $1 for each bucket of maize that has been ground. It‚Äôs another way for me to earn‚ÄĚ.