DILI, july 10, 2023 (TATOLI)— ACELDA Agriculture Company requested the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, and Forestry (MALFF) to support the private sector to rehabilitate the candlenut tree, which has great economic value in Timor-Leste.
“In the future, the government must support the private sector to carry out replantation on candlenut trees because now the international market is starting to recognize Timor-Leste with a variety of organic products, including the candlenut oil product,” Higino da Costa, Director of ACELDA Agriculture Company explained at Aimeti-Laran.
ACELDA assesses that many candlenut farmers complain about the lack of fresh candlenut crops, due to the many candlenut trees being old, dead, and broken.
It requires the MALFF to take important action for the rehabilitation process. MALFF must support farmers by providing candlenut nurseries, replanting, and rehabilitating the farms.
Higino da Costa said that so far ACELDA itself has been exporting hazelnut oil to China since 2016, and the United States will only start in 2023, even though the stock prepared is quite small because the raw materials, especially candlenut trees, are starting to decrease.
He acknowledged that Timor-Leste itself currently only reaches 1% for exports and 99% for imports, so this is an unequal comparison in the country’s economy.
“This means that even though we have wealth such as oil, all the money goes out on the grounds that we are still dependent on foreign products. For that, if one day there is no petroleum, the agricultural sector is the only way,” he said.
It was explained that the process of producing organic hazelnut oil carried out by ACELDA itself has been supported by 750 local communities in the municipality of Baucau and its surroundings by collecting candlenuts, which are valued at $1.25 per kilogram.
“The normal price of clear hazelnuts is $1.25, but if the market and demand increase, we will increase it to $1.50,” he said.
ACELDA hopes that the Government will have good politics to develop the cultivation of organic materials in Timor-Leste, which have a high selling value.
On July 6, 2023, the ACELDA Company again exported 1,520 liters of hazelnut oil filled in 8 drums as one of Timor-Leste’s organic products to Boston, United States of America, with a selling price of $9,120.
In addition, on October 27, 2022, ACELDA was able to export organic hazelnut oil to the Chinese market, especially in Guangzhou province, with a total of 5 tons (5,000 liters) of hazelnut oil filled in about 25 iron drums for $30,000 each.
Australia has also asked ACELDA to send samples of organic hazelnut oil products for testing before negotiating.
Journalist: José Belarmino De Sá