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FAO in Timor-Leste

Our office

FAO has been working in Timor-Leste since 1999. From 1999 – 2011 FAO was mainly supporting the Government in the areas of emergency operations and early recovery from recurrent crises and natural disasters. It was only in 2012 that FAO established its representation office in the country as a response to the Government request to focus more on developmental activities for furthering food security interventions in the country. The government supported the establishment of FAO representation office through provision of office space in the premises of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and 3 staff. Since then we have enjoyed a very close collaboration and good partnership with the different technical offices of the Ministry. Among all the UN Agencies working in the country, FAO is the only agency that is hosted outside the UN premises.

FAO’s activities in the country, particularly in the recent past years include:

Policy Development and Planning. FAO assisted the Government of Timor-Leste in developing its National Action Plan for implementing the Zero Hunger Challenge which was launched by the Prime Minister on January 9, 2014. It provided technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to develop a new National Food and Nutrition Security Policy which was finalized after stakeholder validation workshop on April 30, 2014. FAO also supported the development of the Post-Harvest Management Strategic Framework in 2013. Further technical support is being provided for the planning and coordination of the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Zero Hunger Challenge.

Along this line, the government has also requested FAO technical support to review the national forest policy and in response, FAO resources have been allocated to undertake a national stakeholder consultation to review the existing policy and to identify areas for improvement.

Capacity building. Activities under this programme include improvement in food security information and early warning system (an EU funded project) to allow access to reliable, timely and updated actionable information to decision makers and other stakeholders. Raise awareness on the issue of food losses and food waste in the country and train cadre of trainers - extension specialists, academics, researchers, NGOs, community development groups, technical and extension agents, farmers’ organization leaders - in good postharvest management practices. Introduce conservation agriculture (CA) techniques and train Farmers and their supporting extension officials and NGOs partner officials on the application of CA techniques using Farmer Field School Methodology to increase production and reduce disaster risk.

In the fisheries sector, the capacity of the National Directorate of Fisheries and Aquaculture (NDFA) was built to better understand and manage the nation’s fisheries sector which includes strengthened fisheries statistics, man power and IUU Fishing Monitoring and Surveillance System. At community level, fish folks were trained on safety at sea, postharvest handling and processing, hygiene and market chains of fisheries products. A key part of this process has been enhanced relationship between the NDFA and the fishing communities it serves. In Livestock sector a passive surveillance system to report animal diseases has been significantly improved through capacity building of MAF staffs and establishment of a Bio-Safety Level II Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (Australian funded). Relevant government officials and community animal health volunteers were also trained on different aspects of biosecurity in the country between 2007 and 2011.

Boosting agricultural and fisheries production for improving food security and nutrition. FAO is promoting conservation agriculture techniques to enhance food security and nutrition and to reduce disaster risks among maze growers in the upland areas. FAO also introduced home garden and school garden program aiming at increase food production at community level to improve access to diversified and nutritious food.

In supporting the government to increase availability of fisheries products across the country, FAO is supporting the government to explore the potential of the marine fisheries and aquaculture. Various community-based aquaculture activities as well as poultry and small livestock (pigs and goats) farming activities were promoted in the past support to the government to increase access to protein rich food by households.

Enhancing rural livelihood and employment opportunities The Government of Timor-Leste has a plan to develop the forestry sector based on an integrated cultivation system under which agroforestry, silvipasture, silvo-fishery and forestry are promoted together with an objective to enhance rural livelihood and to provide employment opportunities. Along this line FAO assisted MAF in the formulation of the National Forest Policy, development of a concept for community-based forest management, which was further accompanied by the “Guidelines for Implementing Community Forestry”. Further support included the drafting of the Forest Management Decree which was approved by the Government recently.

Under this program, FAO is providing technical support on the capacity building and skills improvement of farmers group engaging in horticulture value chain particularly tomato and banana.