Testing red rice yields in novel student experiments

Four University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL) students will this month start on-farm experiments investigating how to increase the yield of red rice – a nutritiously dense crop that grows well in Timor-Leste. Red rice sells for a higher price in the market, perhaps making it more profitable  for farmers. Supported by AI-Com and UNTL, the …

New rice experiments begin in Laleia

The fourth phase of student-led research at AI-Com and the University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL)’s collaborative research has commenced with 11 eager new students and a plan for figuring out how to grow more rice for farming families. As the year’s rice season begins, AI-Com is supporting UNTL students and lecturers to conduct a series …

New experiments unlocking sandalwood mysteries

Five hundred years ago, sandalwood trees grew wild and abundant in Timor-Leste’s forests, dropping their small seeds into the soil below to sprout new green seedlings. But after years of over-logging, illegal theft and exploitation the tree’s population now is nearly nothing. Previously, efforts by authorities to cultivate and farm new seedlings in nurseries had …

First anniversary of student-led research site

Last month marked the first anniversary of the launch of the small research site established in partnership between AI-Com, the National University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries at Vermasse, in Baucau municipality, in December 2017. The research site offered an inaugural group of 12 students from the university’s agronomy …

Sacred sandalwood saw forests thrive in Bobonaro

Ancient beliefs see the tree “handed down from God” in parts of Bobonaro municipality. Sandalwood is well-known in every part of Timor-Leste—the tree is endemic to the island of Timor and its wealth and significance has been known from end to end of the island for centuries. But few communities have such strong beliefs about …

Increasing production of protein-rich family staples

Why we’re putting time, effort and resources into researching humble family staple crops. Timorese staple legumes like common beans and mung beans provide a vital source of nutrition for the estimated 50 per cent of households in Timor-Leste facing the complex problem of poor nutrition. But they’re time-consuming to plant and harvest, for too small …

Is Timorese sandalwood a species under threat?

The species of sandalwood native to Timor-Leste, Santalum album, is listed as a vulnerable species and is on the International Union of the Conversation of Nature (IUCN)’s global species red list. But how rare is it really in Timor-Leste? The IUCN considers a species threatened if the population is vulnerable to endangerment in the near future. …

Intensifying rice production systems in Timor-Leste

How our supported researchers are strengthening local staples for better family nutrition. If you haven’t eaten rice with your meal in Timor-Leste, you haven’t really eaten, people say. But despite its sacred place on family dinner-tables, rice crops in Timor-Leste produce the lowest yields in Asia. On average, a family farming rice can expect to …

Australian Senator visits sandalwood experiment site

Australia’s Assistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Honourable Anne Ruston, has today visited the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries/AI-Com research site at Liquica. The minister visited the MAF office, which includes a sandalwood nursery, where Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and AI-Com staff and researchers showed the minister the results …

Melons in the desert: Strong results from Vermasse experiments

Staff and students from the University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL) last week harvested horticulture crops planted at the university’s research site in Vermasse, Baucau municipality in another successful demonstration of the potential of the experimental research site. The third group to conduct on-farm experiments at the site, 13 students from UNTL’s agronomy department harvested crops …