A research centre during Indonesian times, MAF’s Loes Research Station on the eastern bank of the Loes River just upstream from the main bridge has been significantly re-developed under the Australian Government-supported Seeds of Life (SoL) program.  The station was finally inaugurated May 10 by their Excellences, Mariano Assanami Sabino, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Miles Armitage, Australian Ambassador to Timor-Leste.

The ceremony was attended by the community of Loes, the local leadership of Liquica District, MAF’s National Directors and heads of departments, MAF-SoL researchers, SoL Advisors including John Dalton, Australian Team Leader and representatives of AusAID.

During his remarks, His Excellency Minister Assanami congratulated the MAF-SoL team for preparing the event and the staff of the Research Station for the great work they had done in the past few years.

The station occupies a 20 hectare site used for MAF-SoL crop variety selections to identify more productive varieties of staple crops, the production of foundation seed and MAF’s corn breeding to produce new corn varieties and hybrid corn.

Loes Research Station is also a venue for livestock research with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) also supporting the introduction of animal feeding trials with Leucaena and other tree legumes

The station also offers a one hectare area where final semester university students can undertake their agronomy research. It will also soon support a fruit tree collection of MAF’s Horticulture Department

The facility’s day to day activities are managed by MAF’s Research & Special Services Directorate under Adalfredo Ferreira with operational budget, research training and supervision provided through SoL’s long-time Research Advisor Mr Rob Williams who has served the program for the past 10 years.  Meanwhile, work on the station is carried out by a team of 21 staffers headed by MAF’s Timorese Manager Telio Moniz.

The inauguration ceremony concluded with the Minister and guests inspecting the different research activities around the centre.