PUBLICATION: A new story of sandalwood for Timor-Leste

The history of sandalwood is inextricably linked with the history of Timor-Leste and its people. Now, we’re proud to share its story. The native tree that covered Timor-Leste’s hilltops and sustained its families long before the first colonial traders reached the country’s shores, sandalwood drew the attention of Portuguese explorers and Indonesian soldiers, caused the …

Understanding how rural communities manage their natural resources

How do families make decisions about their land, crops, water and food? How would this affect their interest in adopting new agriculture innovations? And what position are we starting from in introducing these new ideas? Our socio-economic research team has this month presented the baseline results of a survey conducted in August and September last …

NGOs and farming communities bringing AI-Com innovations to Suai

Oxfam Timor-Leste has this month reported promising results of its tests of AI-Com innovations with its team and farmers’ groups in Suai. Suai is on Timor-Leste’s hot, flat south coast – an area people think is very unsuitable for common beans, the fibre-rich staple crop critical to good nutrition for farming families. But after AI-Com …

Two years of innovating for farming families: AI-Com’s mid-term results

Learning what we’ve done and still must do to bring good innovations to Timor-Leste’s farming families.   Agricultural innovation project AI-Com has celebrated the end of its second year of collaborative research in Timor-Leste with a results meeting and publication launch today at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Comoro, Dili. Attended by AI-Com …

PUBLICATION: First UNTL student research proceedings published

The University of Timor Lorosa’e, with support from AI-Com, has published the first results of student experiments designed to understand how farming families can increase the yield of crops planted in rice paddies after the rice harvest. With a focus on alternative crops for farming system intensification, the newly published research proceedings collect results from …

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 …