On the request of National Directorate of Agriculture and Community Developments (DNADCA) and Seeds of Life(SoL), the Secretary of State (SoS) Agriculture and Arboriculture, His Excellency Sr. Marcos da Cruz, made a one-day visit to Informal Seed Production Groups and the Ministry of Agriculture staff in Aileu District on January 19th, 2012.

The visit was accompanied by Sr. Januario Marcal de Araujo, National Director, Agriculture & Community Development and Sr. Adalfredo do Rosario Ferreira, National Director, Research & Special Services as well as  John Dalton, SoL Australian Team Leader, Buddhi Kunwar, SoL Informal Seed Production Advisor and Francisco Gama and Rui Amaral, SoL’s two national Informal Seed Production Coordinators.

Journalists from TVTL, RTL and staff from MAF’s Agriculture Information Dept. and SoL’s Communications Coordinator covered the Secretary’s visit to seed production plots of improved maize (“Sele”) and peanut (“Utamua”) being managed by the community seed production groups in the Sucos of Liu Rai and Bando Dato.

Approximately 150 Farmer representatives and MAF Extension Officers participated in the plenary meeting at Aileu district headquarters where the MAF District Director Mr. Galiene S.F. da Costa Galhos and the Aileu District Administrator, Mr. Martinho Matos, spoke of the agriculture development situation in Aileu. This was followed by a presentation from Mr. Antonio de Jesus, MAF District Informal Seed Production Coordinator who reported the progress of Informal Seed Production in Aileu District.

Following the opening ceremony, a two-hour field visit enabled the SoS and team to visit three farmer groups producing seeds of the improved “Sele” variety of maize and ‘Utamua’ variety of peanut. All District Informal Seed Production Coordinators and Chief of Extension Department from the other six districts currently involved in the MAF-SoL Seeds of Life program were also invited to participate in the meeting and field visit with the SoS.

Following the field visit, the SoS and team returned to District Headquarters for a question and answer session with representatives of farmers groups. The Secretary strongly endorsed the MAF-SoL informal seed production and distribution program and highlighted its potential when properly and fully implemented to make Timor-Leste self-reliant in locally available high quality planting materials of the major food crops.

Seeds of Life: “Food security begins with seed security”