(Tetum) Three community seed production groups (CSPGs) in Liquica have for the first time produced enough surplus seed of the improved maize variety Noi Mutin to share with vulnerable families in their district.

In only their second harvest season since forming in 2012, the three groups ‚Äď Moris Foun, St. Antonio, and Balibau ‚Äď shared more than 150 aqua bottles (1.3kg each) of Noi Mutin to over 80 households in Guico suco, Loes sub-district.

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Moris Foun group share 40 Noi Mutin seed bottles to vulnerable vulnerable families in Suco Guico, Liquica district.
© Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

The group chief of St. Antonio, Egas dos Santos, said that they harvested two 200 liter drums of maize last season.

“One drum we kept for seed and the other we shared first among group members, and then with other farmers in Irlelo, Fatufei, Mau-unu, Pandevou and Caicasavou aldeias.

‚ÄúWe had a good yield and we want others to have the same too, because this variety is really good.‚ÄĚ

Amelia de Jesus, a member from Bilbau group, agrees. ‚ÄúWe wanted to share this seed with others who don‚Äôt yet have it.‚ÄĚ

The Suco Extension Officer, Bartolomeu da Silva, said that the local authorities helped identify 30 vulnerable households in each aldeia.

‚ÄúThe groups already have sufficient seed for this planting season and some were shared between the member, so they wanted to share the surplus with farmers in their suco.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúIt‚Äôs good because now the CSPGs are like a seed bank and have circulated seed in their sucos.¬†Farmers no longer have to rely on seed from outside. They have it right here.‚ÄĚ

“It’s good because now the CSPGs are like a seed bank and have circulated seed in their sucos.

‚ÄúFarmers no longer have to rely on seed from outside. They have it right here.‚ÄĚ

Encouraging sharing of community seed is a focus of the MAF-SoL Community Seed Production team.

The team is working with CSPGs to help them produce enough seed of improved varieties to share among members and then to sell the surplus for a profit.

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Zulmira Maia and Lucinda Ribeiro happily balancing seed bottle on their heads.
© Yessy Betty/Seeds of Life

‚ÄúWhen other farmers who live far away want to get the seed, they don‚Äôt have to go to the market or town, they can get it from CSPGs in their suco,‚ÄĚ said National CSPG Coordinator Rui Pereira.

‚ÄúWe also want to encourage farmers to share information among themselves about seed availability in their suco.‚ÄĚ

CSPGs are share excess seed with vulnerable households in their community in 11 districts (i.e. except Manufahi and Dili) and cuttings of improved varieties of sweet potato and cassava will be widely distributed to farmers in sucos in all districts from January based on extension worker records of actual demand.

MAF-SoL will continue encouraging sharing of community seed to help increase seed security in the country.