Betano Research Station, the primary MAF/SoL research facility in Timor-Leste and largest of the six Seeds of Life seed processing, storage and distribution centres in the country, is about to get a touch-up.

The station will have three of its older buildings refurbished, making room for the expansion of seed handling facilities.

Inside the old machine shed, SoL Team Leader, John Dalton, (left) discusses the renovations with Station Coordinator Rafael Feliciano (right)

Station Coordinator Rafael Feliciano is pleased with the proposed renovations.

“At the moment in our main warehouse we have many different types of seed. We have to make sure these don’t mix and for that we need more room,” he said.

The largest job in the project will be to restore a crumbling, Portuguese-era building to be used as the station’s tractor garage.

It hasn’t been operational for decades, but the structure was originally purposed as a machine warehouse, and is already fitted with an inspection pit.

In order to get the garage operating again builders will have to raise its ceilings and restore its foundations, along with making other aesthetic improvements, to bring it up to date.

“Having the new machinery shed to store service and repair our tractor, other machinery and vehicles is going to make our jobs a lot easier,” Mr Feliciano said.

Manufahi district on Timor-Leste’s south coast, Betano as green dot

Located on Timor-Leste’s south coast in the sub-district of Betano, part of the Manufahi District, the research station receives seed from ten contract farmers in neighbouring sub-districts Weleluho and Natarboro.

As well as distributing much-needed seed of improved varieties to farming families in the district, the station conducts research into staple crops (maize, rice, sweet potato, cassava and peanut) and other crops including mung bean.

To improve the living conditions of researchers staying onsite two houses will also be included in the renovations.

Builders are expected to complete the refurbishments by March next year.