MAF-SoL currently providing training to Suco Extension Officers (SEOs) across the districts on sweet potato cuttings.
The main objective of the training is to share information on best practices to maintain and transport sweet potato cuttings, as well as on how to plant, maintain and harvest sweet potato tubers (the sweet potato itself).
It is hoped that the information provided to SEOs will be shared across all MAF-SoL farmer groups.
“To date training has been conducted for 172 extension officers from 8 of Timor-Leste’s 13 districts with training for 4 more districts scheduled for November”
While both farmers and SEOs have good knowledge of how to plant and take care of local varieties, the newer nutritious MAF-SoL varieties – Hohrae 1, Hohrae 2 and Hohrae 3 – require different treatment.
For example, Hohrae varieties are ready to harvest after 4 months instead of 6-8 months for local varieties.
Hohrae varieties also produce tubers directly under where they have been planted making it easier for farmers to maintain the plant and know where to harvest.
Training has been a combination of theory based on a manual developed by MAF-SoL and a practical element where SEOs can plant cuttings for themselves during the training and receive advice from MAF-SoL trainers on best practices for growing sweet potato from cuttings.
In several districts, SEOs were able to learn directly from farmers who are already growing Hohrae varieties successfully for production of both cuttings and tubers.
To date, training has been conducted for 172 SEOs from 8 of Timor-Leste’s 13 districts with training for 4 more districts scheduled for November.
Beyond the training, MAF-SoL are preparing a plan to distribute sweet potato cuttings to Community Seed Production Groups (CPSGs) and others farmer in November and December in time for the start of the rainy season.