More works needed to be done to ensure Timor-Leste’s food self-sufficiency: MAP

More works needed to be done to ensure Timor-Leste’s food self-sufficiency: MAP

(Image Tatoli/Filomeno Martins)

DILI, 15 june 2021, (TATOLI) – The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP), Pedro dos Reis, informed that diversification and intensification of the local primary food products was the key for Timor-Leste to become a successful country with high food self-sufficiency (FSS). 

Reis said increasing the local products would help Timor-Leste to reduce its dependence on the imported food from other countries. 

He said in fact, recently 24,000 hectares of paddy fields across the country have been cultivated and it showed positive progress despite some hectares were destroyed due to recent natural disasters.

“We are planning to construct some inter-seasonal agricultural water allocation system (SAWAS) and also farm dams to facilitate our farmers. The local food production would be doubled as SAWAS and dams would facilitate farmers to cultivate their food crops twice a year,” Reis told reporters during the launching ceremony of exporting Timor-Leste’s local products, in Dili today.  

“We hope that all efforts that we are going to do will turn Timor-Leste into a food self-sufficiency country. It is our responsibility to make it happen,” said Reis. 

Reis affirmed that as the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAP) would cooperate with local and international entrepreneurs, General Directors of MAP, and local leaders to improve and develop the agricultural sector which would benefit the farmers: “We would discuss this join efforts shortly.”

“I have talked to the Indonesian Ambassador to Timor-Leste to import fertilizers through MAP to help Timor-Leste’s farmers boosting their local food production,” He said. 

In addition, Reis said MAP opened its door for international agricultural investors to invest in Timor-Leste, which would create job opportunities for young people. 

He added if the companies and entrepreneurs were willing to buy more farmers’ products then it would encourage many Timorese farmers to produce and increase more of their local food production: “This is the solution for Timor-Leste to become FSS country.”

 According to the 1984 Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) decree, a country is said to be self-sufficient in food if its production reaches 90% of national needs.

Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges Rosario


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