(Tetum) The Seeds of Life is a program within the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries supported by the Australian Government that started in the year 2000. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and Seeds of Life (SoL) have worked together for more than 15 years to improve food security in Timor Leste. The program has focused on building the capacity within MAF officers and farmer groups across the country to evaluate, produce and distribute high quality planting materials (seeds and cuttings) of higher yielding varieties of food crops commonly cultivated by farmers in Timor-Leste such as maize, rice, peanut, sweet potato and cassava. SoL is currently in its final phase and will terminate at the end of June 2016.
Phase 1 of the SoL program (2000-2005) involved importation and selection of higher yielding varieties on research stations and Phase 2 (2005-2010) the expansion of variety selection and multiple on-farm trials as well as MAF production of source seed for wider distribution. Phase 3 has established the National Seed System and a series of MAF municipal seed systems that regularly plan, produce and distribute sufficient seeds and cuttings so at least 50% of the 130,000 farm families across the country have access to good quality seeds and cuttings at planting time.
MAF and its collaborating stakeholders on the National Seed Council composed of representatives of MAF, seed producers, farmers, NGOs, universities, business and religious manage the National Seed System so that Timor-Leste no longer rely on imported seed but has achieved independent seed security and seed sovereignty.
During its three 5-year phases Seeds of Life has acquired many assets that support program activities. With the program finally terminating in June 2016 these assets are being turned over to MAF to be used to maintain operations of the municipal and National Seed Systems.
SoL Program assets will be transfered by the Australian Ambassador, H.E. Peter Doyle, to MAF Minister, H.E. Estanislau da Silva, in a formal Turnover Ceremony at the MAF Compound, Comoro at 10:00am this Friday morning.