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, …

How agriculture research is engaging the farmers who miss out

In largely rural Timor-Leste, women and young people make up a large proportion of the population. But they aren’t always represented at the country’s highest levels of research, planning and leadership. Now, efforts by AI-Com are taking steps to ensuring women and youth have the skills and opportunities to engage in agriculture research at all …

Strong food systems a solution to malnutrition problem in Timor-Leste

Passing through a quiet village in Timor-Leste’s rural west you’ll see gaggles of children playing in the scrub and grass by the sides of the roads. Shaded by papaya trees and tracing lines through tall home-garden corn stalks, they’ll chatter and giggle, and race tyres through the dust. They’ll likely look younger than they are. …

Speeding up sandalwood seed germination

AI-Com supported researchers have this week begun experiments to test novel ways of encouraging sandalwood seed germination, in order to grow more and healthier trees. While sandalwood is endemic to Timor-Leste, and grows wild, it can be difficult to germinate the seed quickly. Sandalwood seeds are designed to germinate a few at a time, some …

A year of AI-Com, by the numbers

Since AI-Com launched in April 2017, together with our partners we have: Conducted 256 training days Worked in six districts With 12 different crops And 14 Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries researchers Together with three universities 11 lecturers 23 university students (six of them female) Distributed 1,200kg of the organic fertiliser biochar Scattered approximately 7,500 …

New planting systems are improving dinnertime in Natarbora

Mung beans, red beans, cassava and corn: staple crops grown in thousands of households all over Timor-Leste, making regular appearances on dinner tables for generations. And in that time, little has changed in how they’re farmed. But new research may have revealed an innovative way of growing mung beans differently – unlocking new opportunities for …