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FAO in Timor-Leste

Programmes in Timor-Leste

FAO works in Timor-Leste is guided by its Country Programming Framework (CPF). The current CPF is focusing on five priority areas that were agreed between the Director General of FAO (during his visit in the country), Former Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Mr. Xanana Gusmão and the former Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Priority Area 1. Support to improvement of institutions and coordination mechanisms for policies, laws and regulations and programmes and plans to ensure 100% equitable year-round access to adequate, nutritious and affordable food for all

This support is focus on Strengthening coordination, planning, policy, legislation and regulatory frameworks for achievement of PAN-HAM-TIL goals. PAN-HAM-TIL is Tetum (national language) acronym for the National Action Plan for a Hunger Free Timor-Leste which is the national plan for the implementation of the Zero Hunger Challenge.

Priority Area 2. Support to first Timor-Leste agriculture census and enhanced capacity for statistics, information and knowledge management systems for agriculture sector and food and nutrition security

This focus on strengthening the national capacity for agricultural data collection, analysis, management and publications. FAO will work with the relevant ministries and other partners to implement the first agriculture census; establish and make functional a system of surveys to report the current statistics on agriculture, food and nutrition; and rehabilitate and build up capacity in KONSSANTIL and MAF for systematic collection, compilation and use of hydrological, meteorological, and other data for food security early warning.

Priority Area 3. Support to improved farming livelihoods, food availability and diversity of household diets through increased productivity and production and consumption of under-utilised food crops

GoTL has determined to give high priority to the improvement of crop and food diversification through more intensive and extensive production and consumption of under-utilized crops, including roots and tubers, vegetables and fruits, and indigenous foods. The increased production of these crops can raise farmers’ income, reduce imports, and enhance availability of and access to affordable and varied nutritious diets for the poor.

Such initiatives also need to be underpinned by strong natural and agricultural resource conservation measures. FAO will support the government to increase awareness and knowledge to improve management and conservation of natural resources as well as to promote cultivation and consumption of under-utilized food crops in order to improve availability, access to and utilization of a wider variety of food over time.

Priority Area 4. Support to smallholder fishing and aquaculture households to become more resilient in the face of climate change and to sustainably improve their livelihoods and free themselves from hunger and malnutrition

Timor-Leste has important marine resources as well as potential for aquaculture development. Both are constrained by, among other issues, low productivity, adverse climate change impacts, weak polices, illegal unreported threats to maritime resources and fish stocks, underdeveloped markets and consumption patterns. Fish are rarely eaten in the non-coastal areas because of unavailability or high prices. GoTL intends to reverse these sector trends and tendencies in the fish sector by embarking on a number of national fisheries and aquaculture programmes. FAO’s support is expected to improve livelihoods, living conditions and welfare of smallholder fisherfolk through building the capacity of both fisherfolks as well as their supporting institutions on more efficient, climatically sensitive fisheries and aquaculture operations.

Prioriry Area 5. Support to renewal, realignment and development of Timor-Leste’s cash crop economy, particularly the coconut industry and the coffee industry

Coconut and coffee are the two main commercial cash crops of Timor-Leste. Their development is important for the diversification of the agricultural sector, and also for increasing value-addition, income and employment in the rural areas. Coconut is a popular cash crop in Timor-Leste, being grown by some 40 percent of Timorese households. Timor-Leste has developed a small but profitable coffee sector which is the main generator of non-petroleum export earnings in the country. There is considerable potential for further development of these cash crops. FAO support was requested to improve both coconut and coffee production and productivity.