The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Engr. Estanislau Aleixo da Silva, launched 7 new varieties of 4 different food crops on 7 April 2016. This follows the recommendation of the Variety Approval, Release and Registration Committee to the Minister.
All the varieties have been released with new Timorese names. The two mung bean varieties, Lakateu-AV and Kiukae-AV, have been named after Timorese birds, and two of the varieties have been named after research locations, Darasula-CIP (sweet potato) and Ululefa-RW(kidney bean) while another kidney bean variety, Fleixa-RW, has been named after a major bean producing area.
The local language of Makasa’e is used to name the new purple sweet potato variety. The name Sia-TL is based on the Makasa’e word for sweet potato (SIA) and the TL shows the source of the seed was from Timor Leste.
The 7 new varieties add colour and wider choice to farmers in Timor-Leste. The varieties include 2 sweet potato, 2 mung beans, 2 kidney beans (climbing type) and one rice variety. The 2 sweet potato varieties are very colourful. Darasula-CIP has a rich orange flesh and Sia-TL has deep purple flesh. Both varieties have great taste, with the orange variety crumbles nicely as it is eaten, making it perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee.
All of the recommended varieties have gone through extensive testing on research stations for more than 5 years and have been grown with many farmers for 2 years or more.
They were assessed against a broad number of criteria, not only for superior yield and agronomic adaptability but also for their social, environment and gender impacts. The review and approval of the Committee is the 3rd step in the process of crop identification and development which is one of the main components of the National Seed System for Released Varieties. Through this rigorous process, farmers are ensured of varieties with superior quality and suited to growing conditions in Timor-Leste.