DILI, january 5, 2021 (TATOLI)-The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), plans to add another 50,000 hectares of rice planting area, to help the country reduce rice imports to 20.00 tons per year.
The Director-General of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Maria Odete do Céu Guterres said, there are 3,650 hectares of rice fields used for rice cultivation, which according to an estimate each hectare can produce 4.1 tons.
“MAP believes TL can reduce rice imports to 20,000 tons every year, by adding another 50,000 hectares of rice fields,” Director, Maria Odete do Céu Guterres told Tatoli in her office, Tasi Tolu Dili today.
According Ms. Gutters, Timor-Leste’s rice consumption reaches 137,800 tons annually for 1.3 million people, so MAF should provide another 60,000 tons of rice to respond to national consumption.
Guterres said MAF had identified wastelands for rice cultivation across the country, but the only thing that needed to be done was to fertilize the wastelands first.
In the same place, Guterres emphasized, in 2021 MAF has recorded an intensification of rice production in Timor-Leste to reach 121,135 tons even though the country faces various challenges such as natural disasters and the covid-19 pandemic.
“It was good that the amount of rice production has increased to 72,000 tons in 2021 compared to 2020 Timor-Leste had produced 50,000 tons of rice,” said Guterres.
She said the areas that contributed to the intensification of rice production were Viqueue (Bebiu), Covalima (Oibabu), Manatuto (Laleia), Baucau (Vemase) Manufahi, and Maliana 1.
“This shows more progress in the rice cultivation area in Viqueque and Suai municipalities, but there is a great concern for the rice cultivation area in Manatutu because 180 hectares of rice fields have been damaged during the flash flood,”
Ms. Guttres appealed to all Timor-Leste farmers to continue working to produce more rice and MAF has a shared responsibility to help all farmers increase rice production in Timor-Leste, following MAF’s 2018 strategic plan MAF has the responsibility to increase the quantity of rice to respond to domestic consumption.
Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá
Editor: Nelia B