Water management, training & vegetable seeds
Income improvement and capacity building for horticulturists – Timor
Due to climate change, Timor suffers from severe drought and variability in rainfall patterns. Water resources are poorly managed and forest harvesting is excessive. The soil is not very fertile by nature and most farmers have barely had any training. This implies that the production volumes of vegetables, which were already low, have decreased further in the past years, even though there is a significant demand. Timor now has to import vegetables from other islands.
Cooperation partner Cordaid has developed a water management method, which includes, among other things, the construction of dams and waterholes in the river and the planting of trees along the riverbanks. This approach provides the farmers with sufficient water for domestic and agricultural use during the dry season and enables water storage during the rain season. This allows for the creation of an extra harvest outside the rain season. In this initiative, the water management method is combined with training farmers in agricultural techniques and access to high quality vegetable seeds. In order to create variety in supply and to put crop rotation into practice, the farmer groups make mutual arrangements regarding the crops that each group grows each year. In this way shortages and competition between them are prevented, resulting in healthy market prices.
Since the kick off of this initiative in 2014, many improvements have been implemented and visible results have been achieved. For example, the groundwater table has already risen and farmers in the pilot project have managed to increase their production up to 200%. This not only leads to a more nutritious diet (more variety and better affordable vegetables) and to productivity improvement and income improvement of the rural population. Farmers who have already received training will be trained further and new farmer groups will be added.