(Tetun) Maize harvest season is commencing all over the country, providing more food to farming families and good seed for the 2015-16 cropping season, the last before Seeds of Life (SoL) terminates.

Fatuk Neso, a registered commercial seed producer (CSP) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) Seed Department, are now harvesting their first commercial seed crop of the improved MAF-SoL maize variety Noi Mutin in aldeia Aidak, suco Bahalara-Uain, Viqueque municipality.

MAF vice Minister © Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

MAF Vice Minister marked the opening of the harvest ceremony by collecting maize cobs © Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

The Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Marcos da Cruz, marked the opening of the harvest ceremony by collecting maize cobs.  In his opening speech the Vice-Minister said MAF will support local production of commercial seed.

“Our farmers can now produce commercial seed and MAF can assure it is good quality. To support local seed producers, MAF have already allocated funds to purchase local seed.

‚ÄúIn the future, when CSPs can meet all the national demand, MAF does not need to import seed. But seed quality is important. Therefore, all commercial seed producers must guarantee seed quality by following national guidelines for commercial seed production‚ÄĚ.

‚ÄúOther farmers no longer wait to receive imported seed. When the Ministry needs the seed, we have it available right here.‚ÄĚ

Fatuk Neso CSP will harvest a total of 125 ha of Noi Mutin from their many maize fields. However, only three hectares of this has been officially inspected and approved by MAF for commercial seed production.

Chief of Fatuk Neso CSP, Joao Pinto, said the group is happy with the first result and the participation of the Vice Minister in the harvest ceremony.

‚ÄúI‚Äôm really happy because this is our group‚Äôs first maize harvest as a CSP. We estimate that we will produce six tons of commercial seed from three hectares.”

“We are also happy about the commitment from the Ministry to continue to support us. Together with MAF we hope that we can produce enough good quality seed locally.

‚ÄúOther farmers no longer wait to receive imported seed. When the Ministry needs the seed, we have it available right here.‚ÄĚ

© Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

Members of Fatuk Neso CSP are happy with the first result of Noi Mutin commercial seed © Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

The maize will be dried, cleaned and processed by Fatuk Neso as commercial seed with at least 95% physical purity and packed in properly labelled bags.

“After screening, packaging, labeling and testing, we plan to sell it to MAF as well as to agriculture shops or other farmers in the community who are interested in buying good maize seed.

‚ÄúThe additional production not used as seed we will sell to the neighboring communities and also to CDCA (Community Development Center for Agriculture) because they raise chicken and will use the maize to feed chickens. This will provide more income for us.‚ÄĚ

© Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

Director of Extension and Agricuture handed over some materials to support the CSP © Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

On this occasion, the Viqueque MAF-SoL Community Seed Coordinator, Feliciano Soares, demonstrated the steps to test seed moisture and calculate yield.

The Vice Minister, National Director of Agricultural Community Development and Extension, municipal commander from PNTL and suco chief handed over some materials to support the CSP for processing and screening of their commercial seed.

Since 2009, before registering as a CSP, Fatuk Neso was also involved in MAF-SoL’s on-farm demonstration trials (OFDT) to test improved varieties of maize, sweet potato and cassava that were grown alongside local varieties.

‚ÄúWe like Noi Mutin. It has good production, resistance to disease and weevils, big cobs and seeds, taste good and good income too. That‚Äôs why we‚Äôve planted Noi Mutin since 2009.‚ÄĚ