Last month’s successful visit of the Secretary of State (SoS) to informal seed production groups in Aileu spurred his interest to see Seeds of Life (SoL) activities in the other districts, so a similar visit to inspect both formal and informal seed production activities in the Baucau district was arranged for February 17. This visit also involved the ceremonial turnover to farmer groups of 50 rice threshers procured by FAO.

The SoS was welcomed to SoL’s formal seed warehouse and processing facilities at Triloka by MAF Baucau staff including the district administrator, district director, chief of extension, suco extension officers, and farmers as well as Adalfredo Ferriera, national Director Research, Rob Williams, SoL Research Adviser and Joao Fernandez, AusAid representative. The SoS inspected seed processing and storage facilities including the large amount of improved “Nakroma” variety rice seed ready for distribution.  He then viewed a presentation explaining SoL’s formal seed production and distribution system and a briefing on the program’s informal seed production and distribution activities in Baucau district before inspecting impressive informal maize and peanut seed production plots established by community seed production groups in suco Tequino Mata.

The SoS acknowledged the relevance of the MAF-SoL program and effectiveness of both its formal and informal seed production and distribution activities in addressing Timor-Leste’s drive for food sufficiency.

The party then proceeded to MAF Baucau office for ceremonial handover of rice threshers purchased by FAO. Following the SoS, other officials addressed the crowd of about 200 farmer participants. The district administrator and the SoS emphasized working hard and diligently for food sufficiency while the district director spoke of the importance of having quality seeds locally available at planting time and not being dependent on seed of questionable quality arriving late from overseas.