MoAF, EU, and BMZ celebrate the planting of the final ‘Ai ba Futuru’ tree

MoAF, EU, and BMZ celebrate the planting of the final ‘Ai ba Futuru’ tree


MANATUTO, 13 may 2022 (TATOLI) – ‘Ai ba Futuru’ project – Partnership for Sustainable Agroforestry (PSAF), co-financed by the European Union (EU), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAoF), celebrated the end of its planting activities by planting its final tree in Pualaka hamlet of Orlalan village, in Laklubar administrative post of Manatuto municipality.

For the past four years, the Ai ba Futuru Project has been distributing tree seedlings to rural farm households in 40 villages in the municipalities of Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto, and Viqueque. During the project, which will end in november 2022, more than 3.8 million trees have been distributed, promoting agroforestry as a sustainable land-use strategy that increases food security as well as employment opportunities and incomes.

Farmers received a wide range of tree seedlings, including Sandalwood, Mahogany, Rambutan, Orange, Moringa, Teak, Coconut, Casuarina, Australian Red Cedar, and many more. In the future, these will provide wood, food, and animal feed. Tree seedlings were produced by community nurseries, Quinta Portugal, private nurseries, and MAoF nurseries.

The celebration of the finalization of the tree seedling distribution was attended by Vice Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Abilio Xavier de Araujo, the Vice Minister of Trade and Industry (MTCI), Domingos Lopes Antunes, the Ambassador of the European Union, Andrew Jacobs, the representative Portuguese Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Cristina Faustino, and the Country Coordinator of GIZ Timor-Leste, Rainer Schellihaas, the representative of the President of the Manatuto Municipal Authority, Eduardo Guterres, and local authorities.

The Vice Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Abilio Xavier de Araujo said: “Agroforestry is very important to sustain and create a productive landscape for Timor-Leste in the future. Agroforestry is a key to enhancing the income of our farmers and contributing to economic development. We would like to thank Ai ba Futuru for supporting us on our way to a prosperous future by donating the seedlings to our farmers in the four municipalities – Baucau, Manatuto, Viqueque, and Lautém.”

Araujo said the three million trees would provide nearly as much erosion and landslide protection: “Tree roots and thick vegetation are necessary to keep soil intact and protect the environment from landslides and erosion. Planting such millions of trees across the four municipalities is crucial to fighting climate change.”

At the same place, Vice-Minister of Trade and Industry, Domingos Lopes Antunes said that the Ai ba Futuru project would support the economy of the rural communities: “Industrial trees that the communities have planted would support their economy in the future. Such as, they can produce timbers from these trees in the future for making furniture, etc.”

Andrew Jacobs, the European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste said that the European Union remains committed to supporting the rural communities in Timor-Leste and to the development of agroforestry.

“We know that agroforestry is a viable and key response to economic development. Around 35.000 hectares of suitable land that is not currently forested protected or cultivated is available in Timor-Leste, which could be used for the largescale implementation of agroforestry practices, which in turn would generate significant employment opportunities for up to 70% of Timor-Leste’s young population. We are currently preparing our new program of EU-Timor-Leste cooperation for the next seven years, and a principal focus is green and sustainable economic development and poverty reduction. In this context, it will be important for the European Union, the Government of Timor-Leste, and civil society to continue to work together in the framework of agroforestry,” said Andrew Jacobs, the European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste,” said Jacobs.

“Since 2017 Ai ba Futuru project is being implemented in the four eastern municipalities of Timor-Leste, namely Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto, and Viqueque. Due to the good partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and due to the good cooperation with the financing partners, it was possible to support more than 6.000 households in 40 selected villages to plant over 3.8 million trees. In this last planting season since november 2021 alone, 1.3 million seedlings have been delivered,” he added.

“It’s the end of our project. We just have a couple of months to go and we will hand over everything which we have developed to our partners to continue for a long, long term,” Schellihaas concluded.

Jose da Silva Sarmento, the head of Pualaka hamlet thanked Ai ba Futuro project for planting more than 2000 trees in his village.


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges Rosario


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