El Niño Timor-Leste Update: Animals dying and crop failures on the south coast (16/01/2016 – 31/01/2016)

Situation Report
Originally published


Some good rains have fallen across Timor-Leste in the northern areas and in the mountains which has brought welcome relief to farmers. However, the south coast has received very little rain which has resulted in many areas experiencing crop failure. In other areas the crop is performing so poorly that farmers consider it not worthwhile to weed so the crop is neglected and further stressed. More animals have been dying along the south coast and in some areas along the north coast. There are further delays in rice field preparation as farmers wait for enough rain to increase flow in the rivers.

From West to East…

Oecussi has received good rains in the western area and some farmers have started planting rice. Toward the east and down on the coast there has been less rain and corn crops are wilting.

Bobonaro has received some more good rains in the main valley and into the mountains but the area around Atabae and Balibo continues to remain dry. Crops are wilting in these areas and some farmers are not weeding.

Covalima has had continued dry weather along the coast which has resulted in large scale crop failure in this key maize producing area.

Liquica (as per last report) has received some rains in the mountains. All along the coast is still very hot and dry with many crops withered and some have failed.

Ermera has had good rains and crops are growing well.

Dili has received some rains with some crops in and Atauro appears to being coping.

Aileu has received some good rains across the Municipality and the surviving crops are growing well.

Ainaro has received big rains in the mountains but the Administration Post of Hato-udo is in a critical state with lots of crops failed.

Manufahi has received very little rainfall along the coast and some crops are wilting and dying.

Manatuto north coast areas are dry and there has been crop failure in the Laclo area. Along the south coast is also an area of concern.

Baucau has received rain in the mountains but the coastal areas of Vemasse and Laga have crops at risk. In Baguia, the corn had grown to flowering stage and strong winds resulted in corn being knocked over.

Viqueque is still very dry along the coast. One Commercial Seed Producer reports that in Uato Carbau and Uatulari "all the maize crops have died and farmers have no seed to grow again. In the town food is difficult. Animals are losing condition and some have died." This situation was also confirmed by staff from Catholic Relief Services

Lautem on the eastern end again has had very little rain and farmers report continued wilting of crops. On the plateau there has been some rain in some areas

Warning (areas that require immediate assistance):

  • Coastal areas of Lautem and Viqueque losing crops and animals.

  • South coast areas from Dotik through to Suai

It is imperative that relief is sent quickly to those communities that are experiencing real difficulties.
The FAO conservation agriculture project is still having success stories with clear differences for those plots that have been doing no-till and mulching the soils.

Much of the information for this report was submitted by Data Base Officers and Food Security Officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries based in Municipal centres. We appreciated reports from Catholic Relief Services and those who have contributed photos.

Samuel Bacon
Cropping Systems Advisor
Seeds of Life