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Lao Hamutuk: MoAF must optimize agricultural land productivity to ensure food security in Timor – Leste

Lao Hamutuk: MoAF  must optimize agricultural land productivity to ensure food security in Timor – Leste

Atabae rice field (image/António Gonçalves)

DILI, 13 june 2022 (TATOLI) – Non-governmental organization, researcher Lao Hamutuk Mariano Fereira, said to ensure food security, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (Kementan) must optimize the productivity of abandoned agricultural land in Timor – Leste.

Based on primary data accessed by Lao Hamutuk, there is still a lot of free land for corn and rice productivity that has not been utilized by the Ministry of Forestry to achieve food self-sufficiency in Timor – Leste.

“Timor-Leste has over 215,000 hectares of corn productivity land, but so far the Ministry of Forestry has only used 37,000 hectares since 2009 to plant corn, from the 37,000 hectares we can only harvest 134,000 tons of corn while we also have 80,000 hectares of rice productivity but only utilize 30,000 hectares and the yield is 125. 00 tons per year,” said Lao Hamutuk researcher Mariano Fereira to TATOLI in Timor – Plaza, Dili.

He added that the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture must implement an integrated strategy to anticipate hunger by optimizing the land for planting the corn and rice to ensure an overstock in Timor-Leste.

“We don’t depend on other countries like Vietnam, and Thailand to import rice and corn to us, but the Ministry of Agriculture must facilitate our farmers to work in the fields and gardens to guarantee food security in the future,” said Ferreira.

Fereira informed that currently there is 1453 staff of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with an annual allocation above the $24 million budget but there is no significant change.

National Director of Centro Nacional Chega (CNC) Hugo Maria Fernandes, believes that to optimize agricultural land, the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture must build good irrigation for agricultural production areas.

“We have sufficient water sources to input into the rice fields but it is not properly managed therefore the water is flowed into the sea, we hope that the MoAF and related institutions can have a good strategy to carry out the sustainable irrigation construction thus we can diversify the economy in Timor – Leste,” said Fernandes.

In the same place, the Director of Delicious Restaurant, Cesar Trinito Gaio, appealed to the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery to immediately intervene in food sovereignty by providing subsidies to productive youth to manage empty fields in Timor – Leste to produce many foods to sell in the local market and also can be exported abroad.

“I think the government through the MoAF must adopt a good policy strategy to provide subsidy to the productive young generation to play an active role in growing rice and planting other crops for consumption in Timor – Leste,” he said.

 

Journalist: Camilio de Sousa

Editor : Nelia Borges

 

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