AI-Com’s partner, World Vision Timor-Leste, has successfully conducted training with 26 farmers over four municipalities on the application of biochar and cow manure to orange sweet potato crops – offering important opportunities for local farming families to improve yields of the nutritious crop, using local, organic fertilisers.
Conducted in March and April this year, the training helped farmers to make rice hull biochar, how to apply biochar to sweet potato crops, and how to establish research plots for testing fertiliser applications.
Made from semi-charring the discarded hulls of the rice grain, biochar is a locally made organic fertiliser found by AI-Com to improve chilli crop yields by up to 160 per cent – offering local farming families significant opportunities for greater crop yields, more generous meals and higher incomes. With support from World Vision Timor-Leste, 26 farmers from Aileu, Baucau, Bobonaro and Covalima municipalities have successfully planted our 26 demonstration research plots, using a combination of biochar and cow manure on 14 and with 12 plots hosting only biochar.
Farmers report that the sweet potato vines are growing well with the application of both fertilisers, and they continue to monitor and observe the plots. Over the following months, AI-Com’s researchers will support World Vision and the farmers to collect accurate and well-formatted results, to strengthen our efforts investigating the impact of biochar on crop yields – how precise doses and application can result in more and better food for Timor-Leste’s farming families.