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 …

El Niño might be on the horizon, but no need for alarm

As the wind changes direction and Dili’s afternoons become stickier, you’d be forgiven for wondering when the rain will get here – and whether we’re perhaps set for another dry, desperate El Niño event, like that which wracked Timor-Leste in 2016. But don’t panic. A Pacific Ocean weather pattern that brings increased rainfall to South …

How to improve sandalwood growth for farming families’ livelihoods

The sandalwood tree is endemic to Timor-Leste and for centuries grew wild and abundant in its forests. But when people first tried to cultivate it, seeds were difficult to germinate, seedlings often withered and died in nurseries, while wild trees sprouted spontaneously. How does this happen? And why is the native sandalwood so difficult to …

AI-Com research working in rural development in Timor-Leste

Oxfam in Suai has successfully tested planting red beans on the south coast, inspired by AI-Com research. Last year, AI-Com-supported researchers were able to grow red beans along the south coast,at Natarbora, Viqueque and Betano—something farming families in the area could barely believe, as red beans have long been considered a cold climate crop incapable …

How we’re supporting a spirit of research

After researchers successfully grew ‘cold location’ red beans at sea level in Natarbora last year, enterprising students and farming families grew curious to see what else they can do. A surprising, unintended consequence of AI-Com’s work, this spirit of research has seen new crops being planted in different ways to bring farming innovations to communities …

How farming families in Timor-Leste are improving diets without extra effort

The humble mung bean is on first glance, admittedly, not the most exciting of crops: a short, shrubby plant with unremarkable pods housing small, dull-green beans, requiring hundreds of hours of effort to plant and grow. But that unassuming little bean provides a vital source of protein and other nutrients to thousands of households across …

The Baucau family secret for high-yield crops

How families near Timor-Leste’s north cost are growing more and better food. Timor-Leste grows lots of rice. Across every municipality, rice is grown by 75,000 households, representing more than 30 per cent of the country’s population. In irrigated Baucau municipality, rice thrives. But for thousands of families growing rice on land desperate for nutrients, growing …

Student agronomers reveal new research results

The results of Timor-Leste’s first student-led research into intensified farming post-rice harvest have been launched today at a workshop at the National University of Timor Lorosa’e (UNTL), offering novel ways of supporting the diets and livelihoods of rice-farming families. Research projects were implemented by students from the university’s agronomy faculty and conducted at a new …

How research improves sandalwood’s changes of survival

Anyone who’s tried to grow a garden will know the feeling. You plant a handful of seeds in soil, water them a little, and sit back expectantly to wait. Days pass, then weeks, and there’s no sign of the tell-tale green shoots pushing through the dirt. The seeds are no good, you think. But then, …