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 students will test applications of organic and inorganic fertiliser on red rice varieties and compare red rice yields to yields of the white rice variety Nakroma with similar fertilisers. The students will test rice hull biochar, cow manure, urea, NPK, and superphosphate on red rice crops, to understand which fertilisers and in which doses produce the highest yields.
The fourth phase of student-led research conducted by AI-Com and UNTL, the rice trials will take place in Laleia, in Manututo municipality, just west of the collaborative research site at Vermasse launched in November 2017. After three successful phases of student experiments, Vermasse no longer has enough unused land available for fertiliser experiments, and farmers local to Laleia last year offered land.