ISMAIK calls on Timorese people to love local food

ISMAIK calls on Timorese people to love local food


DILI, 26 july 2022 (TATOLI) – The Founder of the Instituto Seculare Maun Alin Iha Kristo, or ISMAIK, Maria de Lourdes Martins Cruz called on Timorese people to love their local foods.

Cruz made the comments in a ‘Joint Dinner’ held at the Presidential Place with the theme: “Cassava is the only alternative as a staple food for Timor-Leste: It poses no threats to human health.”

At the joint dinner, Cruz and her team served hundreds of guests many different types of cakes made of local cassava flour.

“Our farmers in the municipalities produce lots of cassava every year. Therefore, we need to embrace eating this locally grown food. Thus, if we experience a rice surrogate in the country, we don’t need to worry because our local farmers produce enough cassava to feed us. The only thing we need to do is to learn how to process the cassava into cakes, garri, etc,” Cruz said at the Presidential Palace.

She said every time Timorese people purchase rice, and other imported food from someone other than a local producer, their money leaves Timor-Leste’s economy: “By consuming our local food will keep our money in our country which helps to sustain the life of the local producers.”

Cruz said cassava could prove to be Timor-Leste’s ticket to food security amid local food shortages and prevent Timor-Leste from hunger in the future.

President Horta expressed his deep appreciation for Cruz and her team’s initiative in the promotion of Timor-Leste’s locally grown food.

Horta stressed that choosing to eat local produce may not always be the most convenient for many people, but saying the majority of the locally grown food is organic and more nutritious compared to imported food like rice.

“You know locally-grown food tastes better. Consuming local food is not only tastier, but it’s also healthier and cheaper,” Horta said.

At the same place, Minister of Health, Odete Maria Freitas Belo also called on communities to teach their children to consume locally produced food.

“We have lots of different nutrient-rich foods, for instance, we have many different types of vegetables, fruits, etc. So, the parents and teachers must teach our school children to love consuming our local food. We need to reduce consuming fast food as they are not good for human health,” Belo said.

Belo said Timor-Leste must produce enough food to ensure 70% of the food at hospitals is local produce: “For instance, we need to produce local milk to prevent formula milk from overseas.”


Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges


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